The governess’s sanity in Henry James’s Turn of the Screw is often disputed over in literature. Because the governess sees ghosts in the novel, she is often argued as insane. The definition of sanity proves otherwise, stating that it is the “state of being sound of mind or having appropriate judgment skills” (Psychology Dictionary). The governess is sane because she behaves rationally, protects the children above all costs, and is not the only character witnessing a supernatural presence. The governess behaves in a rational manner, and therefore could not be deemed insane by the widespread definition of sanity.
The novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James is a spooky masterpiece that uses repetition throughout the story. Beauty is an example of a word that is continually used, so it is memorable to the story. Whether James is referring to the children, the governess, the master, or their property, beauty is an adjective that is frequently used, so this suggests that looks are important throughout this story. The governess is a young women who radiates with beauty and is infatuated with the master because of his handsomeness (most likely the reason she took the job). Of the children, the governess first meets the little girl, Flora.
Though the governess believes the ghosts to be the conflict of the story, there truly is no harm coming to the kids, except in fact the governess herself. The author, writing from the Governess’s point of view, provides various questions to the reader that are left ambiguous, and the reader must decide what to believe and not to believe. At the beginning of the story, the governess adores the children. She believes them to be the most perfect children to ever live. She speaks of how beautiful they are, “But it was a comfort that there could be no uneasiness in a connection
In the book, The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, the mental state of the main character, the governess is questionable and often argued by the audience. The governess reports several sighting of two ghosts, Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, however, the strange events degrade the credibility of the governess and readers must decide if they were real or fake. The governess is insane because she imagines the ghosts, displays excessive fear and anxiety and is extremely paranoid over the safety of her charges. All of this reasons are symptoms of insanity which lead us to logically believe she has a mental illness. The governess is insane because she is the only person at Bly to witness the ghosts of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel.
The father in the lay of the two lovers prevents his daughter from marriage. However, she’s fallen in love with a nobleman: “She found him engaging and thinking of her poor chances of married love because of her father’s arbitrary rules, she chose to do the very thing most fathers fear and gave her love to the young man…” Refusing to accept her fate, the daughter goes against her father’s will and chooses to devise a scheme with her lover to get married. Her rebellion against her father because of her infatuation represents women making her own choices. Furthermore, after marriage, wives were known for holding power over their husbands and persuading their opinions: “In France and in England, women often ruled territories and even kingdoms upon the absence of death of husbands. Women usually possessed their own households and circles of patronage, and it was widely recognized that women had considerable influence over their husbands.” Mature wives were offered “...freedom from supervision, control over the household, and participation in government.” Therefore, in the lay, when the daughter fights for her love, she is also inadvertently fighting for the power she could obtain through marriage.
In the case of the Countess, the strive to maintain her high status continues to the last day of her life. As a noble, she always attends parties until late into the night at the risk of her diminishing health. No matter how tired she becomes, she does not leave until the end of the parties because she is afraid to break her elite appearance of youth and liveliness. Additionally, the Countess invites nearly everyone she deems of similar social status to her own parties even though she does not recognize any of them anymore due to her old age. Nonetheless, the Countess continues to hold such flashy parties despite her limitations.
Readers must realize that the hostess does not only serve the men; she is the instrument that acknowledges the social class of the men who are in the presence of the king. "Their role as hostesses has to do with the duty of carrying the mead cup and pass it to the king and warriors. This apparently unimportant task is more revealing than we may think; it establishes a hierarchy in the hall" (Sonia, 2013). Hierarchy creates a system of rankings between those of the kingdom. When a woman is above many others within that system, it demonstrates that females have a great deal of power and are crucial to the ceremonies of the mead cup.
Foster suggests, “...sex can be pleasure, sacrifice, submission, rebellion, resignation, supplication, domination, enlightenment, the whole works” (158). The Handmaids must submit to their Commanders as they hold the dominant role. The Handmaids are also sacrificing their bodies and fertility to their Commander and his wife in order to give them a child. They have all been renamed with names that signify the Commanders they serve: Offred, Ofglen, Ofcharles, Ofwarren, etc. These names show the Commanders’ possession of the Handmaids.
In Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, the confidant plays a crucial role in the development of the book and several theories of what happens in the book. A confidant has a high sense of sensibility and the main character (In the case of this story, the governess), expresses their innermost and deepest thoughts to this person. The only person that could be the confidant in this case is Mrs. Grose, considering that she is the only person the governess really has to talk to at all. Once the governess first arrives at Bly, she talks to Mrs. Grose on the daily, as she is the only person there who there really is to talk to who is not a maid or servant. Mrs. Grose really becomes the governess’s confidant when the ghost of Peter Quint is seen for
Women’s Body The Figuration of the female body is well described in both Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El-Saadawi and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Both novels show that the women bodies are not their own and controlled by others which it turned into an object in order to survive. In this paper, I would like to argue how the objectification of the female bodies in both novels resulted in their oppression and sufferings. Moreover, what is the definition of the figuration of a body to both Offred and Firdaus? And is there a way out to survive this tragedy in both novels?