UNRELIABLE NARRATOR AND DOUBT IN THE TURN OF THE SCREW BY HENRY JAMES


  • Tamara Kyrpyta
Keywords: ambiguity, unreliable narrator, focalization, ghost story, doubt

Abstract

In this article we explore the narrative features of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. This work is considered to be one of the most controversial in relation to the author's design and description of the characters. Until recently, the controversy was focused only on whether the events in the narrative are really mystical (within the reality of the text), or the ghosts described by the heroine are the product of her imagination. In recent years there has been a tendency to consider this work in the light of narratology and structuralism. We consider this approach to be appropriate, because for Henry James as a writer and a literary critic the form and content of the text were inextricably linked, and in his later writings he sometimes favored a form over content. The Turn of the Screw is known primarily for its ambiguity. Written in the genre of "scary tales," it not only reveals the events in Bly, but, which is typical of late James, draws a psychological portrait of the main character. The narrative features of The Turn of the Screw create the effect of an "unreliable narrator", and this has caused controversy in the literary environment as to whether the ghosts that the governess speaks about are real or generated by her sick imagination; whether Flora and Miles are innocent children or they have already been spoiled by the vicious servants, whose influence the governess is trying to protect them from. We are inclined to believe that the ambiguity of the novella was the author's intention. Considering the focusing of the work, we arrive at the conclusion that the work is double-layered. On the surface, there is a scary ghost story, and beneath there is an allegory of oppression of forced respectability from which the protagonist is afflicted with.

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Published
2019-09-07
How to Cite
Kyrpyta, T. (2019). UNRELIABLE NARRATOR AND DOUBT IN THE TURN OF THE SCREW BY HENRY JAMES. English and American Studies, (16), 159-166. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15421/381922
Section
RELEVANT ISSUES OF LITERARY STUDIES AND STYLISTICS