The Turn of the Screw

Henry James
Characters

Flora

Characters Flora

Like Miles, Flora might be either angelic or diabolical. She appears to be a completely wonderful little girl, even preternaturally so, well behaved and a pleasure to be around. The governess thinks Flora possesses “extraordinary charm” and is the “most beautiful child” she has laid eyes on. Flora seems, however, to have a personality quite distinct from these glowing descriptions. When the governess questions Flora as to why she had been looking out the window, Flora’s explanation is evasive and unsatisfying. Flora’s next turn at the window turns out to be, according to Miles, part of a scheme to show the governess that Miles can be “bad.” At this point, the governess has already assumed Flora to be conniving and deceptive, but this is the first instance in which Flora seems to be exhibiting unambiguous deceit. The story remains inconclusive, however, and we never know for sure what Flora and Miles are up to. Flora may very well be the innocent child the governess thought her to be, her strange, diabolical turns existing only in the governess’s mind.