Turn Of The Screw Insanity

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Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw presents a governess as the central character. For years, literary critics have argued over the sanity of the protagonist. Sanity, the condition of having a healthy mind, versus insanity is a major theme that James addresses throughout the novel. Ultimately however, the governess is sane because she possesses the qualities of courage, self-confidence, and intuition. The governess’ quality of courage displays how she is sane because she is able to do things that she knows is dangerous. In the opening act of the novel, the governess gains “...courage [when she] was beyond all doubt already...gone” to catch a mysterious man she sees in the window (James 22). Under stressful circumstances, sane people …show more content…
To support their claim, they might use the instance where she “...[doubts] if [she] were even in life” (James 52). They believe that the ghosts that she encounters are not real, because she is insane. However, the governess does see the spirits, and she is not the only one. Mrs. Grose admits to the governess that she has witnessed the ghosts before, and Miles is also seen at the top of the staircase with Peter Quint. Because she is not the only one who sees the ghosts, they cannot be imaginary. Some people may also believe that the governess becomes driven by obsession in protecting the children. The governess openly admits that she is “...rather easily carried away” (James 18). Because of this statement, they would say that she got so carried away that she was driven into insanity. However, the governess is not obsessed, but rather determined to do her job and keep the children safe. She realizes that supernatural forces might be conspiring against her. The governess proves her sanity by keeping the children safe at all costs. Courage, self-confidence, and intuition are three qualities that person with a properly performing mind possess. These qualities make them these sane because they show their brains are actively exercising their functions. The governess in The Turn of the Screw holds these characteristics and is able to maintain her sanity in the presence of existential beings. The governess is a sane character throughout the entirety of the novel becauses she constantly applies the traits of courage, self-confidence, and intuition to rationally deal with the uncharted territory of the

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