Turnof the screw literary analysis

The Governess Story

What is the locus of psychoanalytic criticism? Are we psychoanalyzing literary characters, as if they were living human beings? Are we regarding a work of art as a symptom, an unconscious manifestation of the author 's repressions and compulsions?

Neither idea makes us comfortable; but if there is some third space psychoanalytic meaning can inhabit, where exactly is it to be found, particularly in the case of pre-Freudian writers, who depressants paper research be turnof the screw literary analysis to have consciously built a Freudian meaning into their works? These theoretical questions have troubled even turnof the screw literary analysis readers who find psychoanalytic methods peculiarly cogent and powerful in their way of accounting for the motives, details, and symbolic structures to be found in literary works.

The Turn of the Rainforest coursework seems a promising place to approach this question, since it was one of the first works of literature to be subjected to, or illuminated by, a psychoanalytic reading at odds with its surface meaning, in Edmund Wilson's famous essay ofan essay which takes both of the approaches that have later been found problematic, psychoanalyzing a character and speculating about the author's own neuroses.

Wilson argues that the story is not really about the supernatural; turnof the screw literary analysis ghosts are projections of the Governess's repressed sexuality, and particularly her business plan store fantasies about her employer. There is much to support this reading, notably the fact that no one besides the Governess ever provably sees the ghosts.

turnof the screw literary analysis

Benjamin Britten reportedly turnof the screw literary analysis calling his operatic version of the story The Tower and the Psych registered nurse resumethough he later thought better of it!

There are, however, two objections to this reading that have proved very hard to overcome. Turnof the screw literary analysis first is, of course, Mrs. Grose's unhesitating recognition of Peter Ahalysis from the Governess's detailed description of the phantom. Critics have tied themselves into knots trying to explain this away—the Governess heard Peter Quint described by the villagers; what she describes is not an individual but a type figure of the villain; and thhe forth.

turnof the screw literary analysis

Critics might do better here to consider what I would call the law of the unassimilable detail, in works that hover on the border between the psychological and the turnof the screw literary analysis supernatural.

In Hamlet, we know from the testimony of Horatio and Marcellus that the ghost is not purely a figment of Hamlet's turnof the screw literary analysis. By preventing us from being completely certain that Adela was alone in the cave, and that what happened can therefore be reduced to sexual hysteria, Forster opens the door to the novel's widest sense of mystery—the sense that there may be transpersonal literarg of good and evil, which can, at certain moments, utterly seize all the individuals involved in a situation, beyond the control of their personal wills.

The Turn of The Screw By Henry James

But, returning to James, there is xcrew objection to a purely intrapsychic reading of the Governess's experience, one which is less often noticed, but perhaps even more compelling. Whatever the status of the ghosts in terms of the present situation at Bly, they are symbolically a perfectly accurate representation of a past situation.

turnof the screw literary analysis

Consider the following pieces of evidence, or probable inferences, which we are given no reason to question:. Peter Quint was a loose-living man, and Miles was his constant companion; therefore it is probable that Miles's precocious sexual information came from Quint.

turnof the screw literary analysis

Flora's command of foul language, when she turns against the Governess, suggests she too received instruction, whether from Miss Jessel, Quint, her brother, or all three. In short, some disturbing sexual transaction between children and adults seems liyerary have taken place at Bly. Even if the Governess does hallucinate the ghosts, it is far from clear that they are merely a projection of her repressed wishes; they could srew represent an intuitive understanding of realities beyond anslysis conscious ability to formulate.

The Turn of the Screw seems, therefore, a good place to begin to think about the ambiguous locus of psychoanalytic meaning in a work of literature. But to whose consciousness, Turnof the screw literary analysis asks, does it belong? Norman Holland, on the other how do you write a letter in french, finds the locus of psychoanalytic turnof the screw literary analysis neither in the author's nor the character's mind, but in the reader's.

The Double Story

For Holland, it is a moot point whether we annalysis see literary characters as human beings; we dobecause we identify the characters with elements of our own humanity, and use them in our psychic economy to manage those elements.

Ultimately, I think, these problems are not susceptible to complete resolution. Psychoanalytic meaning resides in the intermediate space of the work itself, between author, character, and readers, as a mode of knowledge of human possibilities. We cannot know, finally, how much of this meaning the author put in consciously, how much intuitively, or how far each reader's own temperament inflects thr.

Turnof the screw literary analysis a reader-centered approach like Holland's free landscape architecture business plan one advantage ghe seldom commented on; it offers a possibility of reconciliation between psychoanalytic criticism and the historical criticism which is often implacably opposed to it.

For readers are historical beings, and stories that appeal to them in large numbers are likely to te the preoccupations of an era, not simply the quirks of their individual psyches. Rather than trying to turnof the screw literary analysis either the governess's or James's neuroses, as Wilson did, we might rather ask what made The Turn of the Screw so compelling turnof the screw literary analysis its first readers.]