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Ben Scheib-Turn of the Screw

Page history last edited by 19bschei@... 2 years, 5 months ago

Ben Scheib

There had been a moment when I believed I recognised, faint and far, the cry of a child; there had been another when I found myself just consciously starting as at the passage, before my door, of a light footstep.

Pg 8

(Q) Why did she hear a child crying in the middle of the night?

Who was walking around in the middle of the night?

Did she truly hear things in the night or is she imagining?

“‘What does it mean? The child’s dismissed his school.’

She gave me a look that I remarked at the moment; then, visibly, with a quick blankness, seemed to try to take it back. ‘But aren’t they all—?’

‘Sent home—yes. But only for the holidays. Miles may never go back at all.’

Consciously, under my attention, she reddened. ‘They won’t take him?’

‘They absolutely decline.’”

Pg 10

(Q) Why did the school refuse to let Miles come back to school?

What did he do at his school?

Why does Mrs. Grose defend Miles so strongly and say that he is such a good child?

“What arrested me on the spot—and with a shock much greater than any vision had allowed for—was the sense that my imagination had, in a flash, turned real. He did stand there!—but high up, beyond the lawn and at the very top of the tower to which, on that first morning, little Flora had conducted me.”

Pg 15

(P) I think that she is seeing some sort of apparition in the tower and it freaks her out. I also believe that this person is either the previous governess or another person entirely, they have some relation to the place they are staying at. Whether she is hallucinating this or if there is a real ghost there is unclear however.

“He was in one of the angles, the one away from the house, very erect, as it struck me, and with both hands on the ledge. So I saw him as I see the letters I form on this page; then, exactly, after a minute, as if to add to the spectacle, he slowly changed his place—passed, looking at me hard all the while, to the opposite corner of the platform. Yes, I had the sharpest sense that during this transit he never took his eyes from me, and I can see at this moment the way his hand, as he went, passed from one of the crenelations to the next. He stopped at the other corner, but less long, and even as he turned away still markedly fixed me. He turned away; that was all I knew.”

Pg 17

(C) I have read other books with paranormal events and ghosts and I have also seen movies and TV shows that have covered the same topic. However, the way that they worded this encounter was one of the most unsettling descriptions of a ghost encounter I have seen. The way that they described the ghost making eye contact while turning away was an interesting take on the topic of ghosts.

“She broke into a breathless affirmative groan: ‘They’re the master’s!’

I caught it up. ‘You do know him?’

She faltered but a second. ‘Quint!’ she cried.


‘Peter Quint—his own man, his valet, when he was here!’”



(Cl) This confirms that the ghost is Peter Quint and is someone who has had previous relations to the mansion and the people who live there. She also may have heard him walking around the previous night when she heard someone.

“This drew from me, in the state of my nerves, a flash of impatience. ‘Then ask Flora—she’s sure!’ But I had no sooner spoken than I caught myself up. ‘No, for God’s sake, don’t! She’ll say she isn’t—she’ll lie!’

Mrs. Grose was not too bewildered instinctively to protest. ‘Ah, how can you?’

‘Because I’m clear. Flora doesn’t want me to know.’”



(E) I think that this is the first point in the story where she starts to doubt the children and not believe them. In the beginning of the story she felt a connection to the children but if she wants to solve the mystery with the ghosts, she has to be doubtful of the children. I think it is interesting that there is this divide that was created.

“‘Well,’ he said at last, ‘just exactly in order that you should do this.’

‘Do what?’

‘Think me—for a change—bad!’”

Pg 46

(Q) Was there another reason he left in the middle of the night?

Why did he feel the need to make the governess think he was capable of bad things?

Did the governess believe him?

“‘I don’t know what you mean. I see nobody. I see nothing. I never have. I think you’re cruel. I don’t like you!’ Then, after this deliverance, which might have been that of a vulgarly pert little girl in the street, she hugged Mrs. Grose more closely and buried in her skirts the dreadful little face. In this position she produced an almost furious wail. ‘Take me away, take me away—oh, take me away from her!’

‘From me?’ I panted.

‘From you—from you!’ she cried.

Pg 71

(R) I think that this part is very interesting because it shows how crazy people look who believe the things that they are saying. The governess truly believes that she is seeing ghosts, but to the child who could not be aware of anything, she thinks that she is being attacked unfairly. Many people who live in manic states believe what they are doing is right, but to everyone else they have just gone insane. Whether Flora is lying about the ghost or the governess is just insane, I think this was an interesting interaction between them.

“‘Well—I said things.’

‘Only that?’

‘They thought it was enough!’

‘To turn you out for?’

Never, truly, had a person ‘turned out’ shown so little to explain it as this little person! He appeared to weigh my

question, but in a manner quite detached and almost helpless.

‘Well, I suppose I oughtn’t.’”

Pg 85

(Cl) This statement somewhat clarifies the reason he got removed from his school, although it is somewhat left up to interpretation. He was removed for saying things that he shouldn't have said, although based on the context of his upbringing it is likely that he made sexual comments to other children or adults.

“But he had already jerked straight round, stared, glared again, and seen but the quiet day. With the stroke of the loss I was so proud of he uttered the cry of a creature hurled over an abyss, and the grasp with which I recovered him might have been that of catching him in his fall. I caught him, yes, I held him—it may be imagined with what a passion; but at the end of a minute I began to feel what it truly was that I held. We were alone with the quiet day, and his little heart, dispossessed, had stopped.”

Pg 87

(Q) What truly happened at the end of this book?

Was Miles really dispossessed or did the governess kill him?

What happened to the ghosts?


Comments (6)

Sharon Murchie said

at 5:52 pm on Jul 30, 2018

Ben: I love your explanation of the quotes on page 71. There are so many layers: is the governess manic? insane? Are there actually ghosts? If so, who are they? Are the kids evil? Or abused? These many layers are in part why this book is so interesting...you end up with more questions than answers. So, what do you truly think happened? If you had to film this, how would you interpret it?

19bschei@... said

at 4:41 pm on Aug 13, 2018

I believe that the governess was just hallucinating things because the other people in the situation couldn't see the ghosts in question and seemed to be very disturbed by the governess freaking out at them. I would probably film this as switching between the view of the governess and the other people so that the mystery of whether the ghost was real still existed and the people watching the film make their own decisions.

19hbaron@... said

at 8:01 pm on Aug 11, 2018

Pg 17: I disagree that this is an especially unsettling description of a ghost encounter - in fact, I found the entire book rather lacking in the "scare" department and more thought-provoking instead. It's supposed to be a psychological thriller, but all I got was dubious, though at varying levels for different things. I'm curious - how did the book affect you in this way? Do "scary" things usually scare you, because they don't me, so maybe that's where my differing views come in. Or maybe I just don't appreciate the literature as you do, though I try.

Your approach to analyzing the quotes that jumped out at you is interesting to me. You seem as though you willingly followed the plot and attempted to make sense out of everything given the explanations provided, whereas I had a more skeptical, unaccepting, nonconventional way of deciphering the text.

19bschei@... said

at 4:41 pm on Aug 13, 2018

I agree with you that most of the book wasn't really scary and more interesting to think about then be a horror story. I am also not generally scared by these types of things, but something about this encounter in the tower specifically was unsettling to me for some reason. Maybe it has to do with the writing and the description, I'm not sure.

19akyes@... said

at 12:52 pm on Aug 15, 2018

If you truly believe that the governess is just haullcinating the entire book becomes, like, a billion times more boring. It’s a ghost story, is it so crazy to think that there were actually ghosts? The little girl saw the governess’s ghost didn’t she? And those kids are creepy as hell. She wouldn’t be able to randomly hallucinate a man that looks exactly like an actual man that actually died and was actually connected to the house and the children. Same with the Governess ghost. Of course it wasn’t actually very scary, but these days people are exposed to so much more, it takes a lot more to actually get a reaction from us. But it was pretty cool to see the origins of the creepy kids we see in horror movies today, like the Shining.

19bschei@... said

at 9:46 pm on Aug 15, 2018

I think that because she was in the building for a considerable amount of time before she saw a ghost, she may have seen pictures of the ghosts in question to be able to properly recreate them, but it does add doubt to the idea that there are no ghosts. I agree that the book overall wasn't very scary based on being overexposed to so much, but back in the time that this was written it probably was much more realistic and relatable story that it was a horror novel.

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