The Turn of the Screw
Study Questions and Essay Topics
1. Is the governess the heroine or the villain of The Turn of the Screw?
2. How does the phrase “the turn of the screw” apply to the governess’s tale?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. How does James imply that the governess resembles a ghost?
2. The governess’s letter to her employer is very important to Mrs. Grose and so important to Miles that he steals it. Yet the governess is hesitant to write this letter. Why is this letter so significant?
3. Before his heart stops, Miles shouts out, “Peter Quint—you devil!” Who is being named the devil?
4. Give two different interpretations of the scene in which the governess and Mrs. Grose find Flora by the lake and argue for one interpretation over the other.
5. Give two significant examples of James’s use of deliberate ambiguity and offer two different interpretations of each example.
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