Ambiguity In Henry James's The Turn Of The Screw

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Ambiguity is the characteristic of a word, phrase, or book that can be understood in multiple ways. Henry James, during the middle part of his career, incorporated this type of vagueness into his writing. One of James's most debatable use of ambiguity was a ghost story. In the novella The Turn of the Screw, Henry James uses conflict, perspective, and ambiguity to create a mystery, with his own twist, for the reader to solve and leave them guessing. James, through conflicts involving the children and possible ghosts, limited point of view, and the overall ambiguity, forces the reader to solve mysteries throughout the book without giving the answers at the end. The novella was published in 1898 and soon became popular for its ambiguous quality. During the middle phase of his career, James experimented with his writing and created The Turn of the Screw. This ghost story left the reader questioning the author's purpose to the story (Novels for Students 247). The ghosts are surprisingly not the biggest reason this story is a mystery. The…show more content…
James uses his writing skills to suck the reader into the story, chews them up with mysteries, and spits them out confused. First, he creates mysteries involving Miles's expulsion and the idea that the ghosts, when they were alive, corrupted the children. Then, using limited point of view, he tricks his reader into believing the story because they cannot get the story from anyone else's view. Finally, by not answering the questions created by the expulsion and ghosts, he leaves the reader on his own to try to piece the puzzle together; this leaves the conflicts open to multiple interpretations. Henry James, the author, uses ambiguity throughout the novel, different conflicts with the children and possible ghosts, and limited perspective in order to create a well-devised mystery in which he leaves the reader
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