Edward J. Parkinson's The Ambiguity Of Henry James

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He follows this idea that apparitionists follow by looking at the other perspective taken by the non-apparitionists that “have defended another reading in which the governess’s mental state seems to be the only meaningful aspect of the whole work” (Siota p.208). To approach the text from a psychoanalytic theory then the non-apparitionists are taking the Freudian approach to the novella. He continues that “they rationalise the governess’s sexuality in excess by focusing on the psychoanalytic evidence, so that all the supernatural phenomena vanish into thin air” (Siota p.208). This a clear example of the connection made with Freud’s ideas in that there nothing supernatural about it; it is all in her head. He states that under the non-apparitionists …show more content…
Parkinson looks at Edmund Wilson’s essay "The Ambiguity of Henry James". Parkinson writes that the essay “begins a new chapter in the history of the criticism of The Turn of the Screw” (Parkinson Chapter 3). Parkinson directly quotes Wilson when he writes "the young governess who tells the story is a neurotic case of sex repression, and the ghosts are not real ghosts at all but merely the governess 's hallucinations” (Parkinson Chapter 3). As Parkinson highlights Wilson’s point it becomes even more convincing of the idea of a psychoanalytic reading of The Turn of the Screw. Parkinson continues to mention that Wilson’s comment made a bigger impression than previous ideas such as the “non-apparitionist arguments” (Parkinson Chapter 3). Parkinson also continues to mention that Wilson’s idea was very different from any that had appeared before it. Parkinson focuses more on Wilson’s approach and the evidence he uses, which he says are more in line with the Freudian reading than others who take a similar approach. This is shown, he states, by a stronger presence of Freud in both name and the terminology used. He quotes Wilson again when looking at the moments that the apparitions appear with: "Observe also, the significance of the governess 's interest in the little girl 's pieces of wood and of the fact that the male apparition first appears on a tower and the female apparition on a lake” …show more content…
Bontly starts by writing about the disagreement the novella faces with “the reality of the ghosts and the sanity of the governess” (Bontly p.721). The sanity of the governess is of course more question this idea of psychoanalysis, whereas the reality of the ghosts makes real and not psychologically related. Bontly continues by looking at the psychoanalytic reading of the novella. He writes that “if the governess is mad and the ghosts hallucinatory, we then have a world in which evil is an illusion, an irrelevant value judgment, the externalization of inner psychological forces which are, in themselves, neither good nor evil but empirical facts” (Bontly p.722). Here Bontly is playing with the idea of the evil that the governess feels from the apparitions. In her mind they are something to fear, but they may come from just that place, her mind. Bontly continues that through interpretation The Turn of the Screw becomes a “pathological case study by an objective and morally neutral analyst of human aberrations” (Bontly p.722). He then compares the psychoanalytic reading with that of the apparitionist interpretation. He looks at how they see the novella as “a moral and religious allegory in which evil is given the force of actuality in actual ghosts, and is explicitly associated with human sexuality” (Bontly p.722). This way of reading looks more at the intentional or not inclusion of something

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