The Turn of the Screw
by Henry James
The Turn of the Screw Appearances Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
But it was a comfort that there could be no uneasiness in a connection with anything so beatific as the radiant image of my little girl, the vision of whose angelic beauty had probably more than anything else to do with me restlessness that, before morning, made me several times rise and wander about my room to take in the whole picture and prospect. (1.3)
From the very first day, the children's physical beauty is a distraction; here, Flora's "radiant image" is so wonderful that it keeps the Governess up all night thinking about her new life with the child.
"And the little boy – does he look like her? Is he too so very remarkable?"
One wouldn't flatter a child. "Oh, miss, most remarkable. If you think well of this one!" – and she stood there with a plate in her hand, beaming at our companion, who looked from one of us to the other with placid heavenly eyes that contained nothing to check us.
"Yes; if I do – ?"
"You will be carried away by the little gentleman!" (1.4-6)
The children's appearance does have the effect of "carrying away" viewers – though it seems benign at this point, we begin to wonder about the spell the cast on the women as the story goes on.
I have not seen Bly since the day I left it, and I daresay that to my older and more informed eyes it would now appear sufficiently contracted. But as my little conductress, with her hair of gold and her frock of blue, danced before me round corners and pattered down passages, I had the view of a castle of romance inhabited by a rosy sprite, such a place as would somehow, for diversion of the young idea, take all color out of storybooks and fairytales. Wasn't it just a storybook over which I had fallen adoze and adream? No; it was a big, ugly, antique, but convenient house, embodying a few features of a building still older, half-replaced and half-utilized, in which I had the fancy of our being almost as lost as a handful of passengers in a great drifting ship. Well, I was, strangely, at the helm! (1.9)
The whole house falls under the glamour of Flora's charm, and the Governess's view of her whole situation is colored by her infatuation with the child.