Essay on The Turn Of The Screw By Henry James

2069 Words Feb 18th, 2015 null Page
Uncovering an accurate example of femininity in literature is difficult, especially when inspecting novels written during previous centuries, authored in predominately patriarchal societies. Historically, Western society has proven exemplary at excluding female voices; leaving literary interpretation from the perspective of feminist theory limited, at least somewhat, to work written by men. Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw affords the opportunity to explore feminist ideals with the interesting, and arguably, rare perspective of a female protagonist. James even gives the main character a voice with the use of first person narration. However, even as a first person narrator, her story is filtered/framed through men, rather than allowing her to speak freely for herself. This results in unreliable narration. Also the narrator is of questionable sanity, value, and morality. Conceivably, these faults are a consequence of gender. Finally, the male characters cast an ever-present and overbearing shadow on all events in the story. How may the governess’s story have differed if the author of The Turn of the Screw been a woman? Is the Turn of the Screw a ghost story? Or a tale of insanity? Of course, these questions have been the source of much debate. Yet what maybe a more important question would be the origin of such desperation and unease which would lead the Governess to hallucinations. What is her value and what are her options in the future? For much of Western history women…

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