Immorality In English Literature

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“Both novels deal with immorality in an ambiguous way and are disturbing because they do not communicate a clear moral purpose”. - With this view in mind, compare and contrast the ways in which the writers of The Turn of the Screw and Notes on a Scandal deal with the theme of immorality. ‘The Turn of the Screw’ (published 1998) and ‘Notes on a Scandal’ (published 2003), falls destitute to moral code, and the three women featured in the novels all have very little tribute to that, leaving an ambiguous immorality that communicates no real or clear moral purpose. The focal point of the three women’s’, as they descend into the selfishness of their own desires, is the consequences’ that are left behind – families devastated, children disturbed…show more content…
Within each novel, sexual immorality plays an immediate part, and as for ‘Turn of the Screw’ which is within the Victorian Era, a time in which sexuality has little place within the everyday norms and values society had in place at that time. Sexual immorality was used by Henry James as an underlying atmosphere. Although having no specific connotations of sexual influence, the main characters seem to fall victim to sexual repression, a reoccurring norm in the Victorian Era due to the lack of spoken knowledge. Henry James’ main character, the governess, suffers from what the reader could infer as sexual repression, and that could also be inferred from Zoe Heller’s ‘Note of a Scandal’ with both the main characters, Barbara and Sheba. As a governess, she was seen to be part of the middle class, a privileged stand-point, and with that she was given the trust of having the highest behavioural guidelines for herself when dealing with the children. The governess was desperate, having an obsession with not only the children, but also the…show more content…
The classic ghost story of Henry James’ ‘Turn of the Screw’ comes with all of the necessary embellishments that one would affiliate with a ghost story: haunted mansion, innocent children and a woman who is not all that she seems. That woman falls into figure as the governess, a woman who is mentally unstable and as noted on previously, sexually frustrated, and is a part of an unrequited love relationship with her master. She efficaciously being to sexually abuse the children, which is interpreted from an ambiguous perspective, due to her lack of physical satisfaction from the man she loves. When the governess begins to lead her sexual advantages towards Flora, the subtlety only adds to the malevolent of it all. Insisting that the young girl sleeps within her own room, she crudely comments that she “have her … at night, her small white bed being already arranged, to that end, in my room”. And the governess also, “catch[es] [her] pupil in [her] arms, cover[ing] her with kisses”. The governess is immersing herself within compounds which are treacherous because the more she shows her affection, the more immoral the situation becomes, and it will soon escalate. Miles soon becomes an option of sorts: “At this, with a moan of joy, I enfolded, I drew him close; and while I held him to my breast, where I could feel in the sudden fever of
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