The book “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James leaves the readers with imagination of the meaning the writer that the writer desires the reader to get. The story leaves many things unclear about the strange things happening in the story. Leaving the readers to imagine the things transpiring in the story does not only add suspense to the readers of the book but it also adds on the effect of terror that the story brings. The writer intends to leave the readers with the question of the mysterious things as if ghosts are either imaginary or real. In the book, no one ever confirms about the ghosts that the governess sees. Either the ghosts are from the imagination of the governess or they actually exist. Characters in the story make indirect hints or use vague language rather than communicate directly and clearly on every matter that happens in the story. The aim of this paper is to analyze the book The Turn of The Screw discussing the style that the writer chooses to make indirect and vague statements including unclear explanations to things happening in the story.
The Turn of the Screw’s most challenging feature is the use of indirect hints and use of unclear language. Indirect and unclear communication characterizes the whole book. From the hiring of the governess to the death of the Miles is unclear. First, it is not clear why the uncle of the school-going children hired a helper. The uncle then gives the new employer the full charge of the children. The uncle even states that he will not bother about any communication about the welfare of the children. The attitude of the uncle not to bother on any communication about the welfare of the children raises many questions. The attitude leaves reader with the feeling that the uncle knows that something unusual is happening in the house and in the children. Otherwise, the uncle ought to be more caring given that the children have a new helper.
When Miles come home in summer with a letter of expulsion, the governess does not bother as anyone would accept but leaves it to her own imagination. The headmaster who expels Miles does not bother to explain the reason for Miles expulsion. The governess guesses several times on the reasons that contributed to the expulsion of Miles. The only reason that the governess thinks of for the expulsion is that Miles could be corrupting others. The statement is unclear and does not explain much of the reasons for expulsion. Miles himself does not speak about the expulsion leaving more questions to the readers.
Former employees of the house, Jessel and Quint had sexual relations before they died. The governess believes that she sees the ghosts of the two around the house. The nature of the relationship between Jessel and Quin is not clear itself. The governess further thinks that the children know about the ghosts. The children were spending a lot of their time with Jessel and Quin just before their death. The governess further thins that the ghosts are influencing the two children. The story does not state clearly, in what ways the ghosts are influencing the children. When the governess suspects that Flora was with the ghosts and confronts her, Flora is angry and leaves. The reason for anger is not clear. Later Miles dies in the hands of the governess as she tries to shield him from seeing one of the ghosts. The cause of the death is not clear.
The excessive reservation of the characters could reflect on the writer’s own reservation. The reservation may be a reflection of Victorian reticence about sex. The reticence could also be style that the writer uses to engage the imagination of the readers. The style has an effect of creating suspense and producing an effect of terror. The reticence also leaves different readers with different interpretations of the work.