The Turn Of The Screw Insanity Analysis

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The Turn of the Screw: Insanity In The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, a young governess begins seeing ghosts at the estate she is staying at, and she becomes suspicious of the seemingly perfect children she watches over. Many argue whether the governess is sane or insane - she is either a victim of real ghosts or a victim of her own mind. Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that the definition of insanity is “a deranged state of mind” and “unreasonableness”. The governess in The Turn of the Screw is clearly insane because she confuses fantasy from reality, she hallucinates, and she acts extremely irrationally. The governess is evidently insane because she confuses her fantasy from reality. In the beginning of the story, it is said that the governess had fallen in love with her employer, but she never saw him again. She is forced to repress her feelings and carry on with her job. However,…show more content…
One of their reasons is that the governess was able to correctly describe Peter Quint and Miss Jessel. However, Mrs. Grose is the one who identifies the governess’s descriptions of Quint and Jessel to be accurate as she “faltered but a second. “Quint!” she cried” (James 23). Although Mrs. Grose claims that this man is Quint, there is no way to be sure that she is telling the truth. She could be lying or maybe just going along with whatever the governess says, and is therefore an unreliable source of reassurance for the governess. Some people also believe that because Miles cries out Peter Quint’s name at the end of the story, it shows that he is able to see the ghost of Quint. However, as Miles shouts “Peter Quint - you devil!” there is uncertainty as to what he meant (James 86). Because the dash is there, it is ambiguous whether or not Miles was talking to Quint or about Quint. This quote can be interpreted many ways, and because Miles dies right after, there is no way to be sure what he meant when he said
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