Thesis Of Turn Of The Screw

Thesis Of Turn Of The Screw-63
Writing here harks back to the epistolary mode of Richardson’s novel of sentiment and beyond that to the predicaments of the gothic heroine probing the ’secret’ of patriarchy.The first-person woman narrator stages her self-interrogation as a desiring subject negotiating the move from ”a symbolics of blood to an analysis of sexuality,” to take up Hoeveler’s words in her study of feminine Gothicism; and she does that notably ”through the power of language to dissemble” (James indeed kept in mind the old sentimental theme of ”virtue in distress.” Robert Brissenden, a specialist of the genre, asserts that ”if Richardson can be called a sentimental novelist so can Henry James” (Brissenden 117).

Writing here harks back to the epistolary mode of Richardson’s novel of sentiment and beyond that to the predicaments of the gothic heroine probing the ’secret’ of patriarchy.

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and ’The Turn of the Screw’ the school-room is a tantalising refuge for self-reflexivity.

That is where Jane draws in chalk a self-portrait to materialise her introspective guilt and James’s governess faces the feminine ghost as a writing double.

From the start the mysticism of a Romantic past is being hollowed out for a modern subject to assert itself within a mysterious halo. was itself a story told retrospectively, given as autobiography: a romantic story already displacing gothic tropes and deflating them.

then can be a signpost—not only in the heroine pitted against a background of a corrupt society of deceit, but in the parodic reenactment of older materials—possibly feminine romance revamped in the guise of a near psychic case. James makes his novella an alleged manuscript, lost and retrieved—according to the romantic archetype.

Disguise and horse play occupy the episode of the ball room in displaying the lesson of the charades: marriage as ’pantomime,’ with Rochester as a gypsy and a woman to boot. Innuendoes of libidinal pursuits bring the memory of Eyre—of disappeared parents or uncles, re-emerge in the status of the nephews and the parental servants as commanding figures.

The governess wonders at the children’s capacity for ”telling her stories, acting her charades, pouncing out at her, in disguises […]” ([1992] 167).

Jane, orally designated by Rochester as ”Remarkably, the master of Thornfield has been the victim of the law of primogeniture, exactly as women were in Victorian society. Jane is confronted with this in her own family, being roughed up at the hands of John Reed and also forced into wedlock by yet another cousin and another John, St. James’s governess is similarly confronted with sinister resumptions of masculine legacies, Quint and Miles.

Usurpation hovers above the empowerment of the evil servants or of the gradually more libidinous governess and her usage of metaphoric, pseudo heroic language, incongruous in a now realistic and secular context.

Therefore recognition is defamiliarised, as any ’ can be, and becomes paradigmatic in the text, in a hypnotic sort of way.

One might say that James’s dogged evasiveness tends to place him decidedly ”in the reader-response camp,” as Edward Parkinson puts it in the ”Preface” to his dissertation on the history of the criticism of ’The Turn of the Screw.” Recognition might thus work as a wrong expectation turning sour.


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