Essay about Literary Techniques And The Turn Of The Screw

1444 Words Sep 22nd, 2014 6 Pages
Literary Techniques and the Horror of The Turn of the Screw

One purpose of Henry James’ gothic novella The Turn of the Screw is to instill fear in the reader. There are several features of this work that make the story horror inducing; first, James’ deals with the idea of the corruption of innocence of children. In the story’s opening chapter, the observation is made that the corruption of a child in a ghost story “adds a particular touch” (James 115). Fear is also associated with the novella because it forges a personal connection with the reader by the use of the universal themes of death and the unknown. James uses several literary techniques in order to convey these facts including the narration, his ambiguous writing style and the structure of the novel.

James uses three narrators throughout the course of The Turn of The Screw, the first of who is an unnamed guest at the Christmas gathering where the tale is recounted. This anonymous narrator can be seen to be representative of the reader, which gives us a sense of personal connection of to the plot, thus making it all the more terrifying. This unnamed narrator remarks on the way in which Douglas, the teller of the story, appears to be addressing only him “you’ll easily judge” (James 117). The effect of this is that James makes the reader the ‘juror’ and invites us to critique the goings on in the story, and causing us to wonder what is real and what is not. It is this sense of wonderment and not knowing…

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