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The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw Chapter 20 Summary

  • As soon as this fatal name is uttered, Flora is shocked. Mrs. Grose is also taken aback by this direct confrontation and shrieks.
  • To top it all off, the Governess sees Miss Jessel herself standing across the pond.
  • At this moment of terror and confusion, the Governess feels a certain triumph – now she has proof that she's not crazy! Miss Jessel's appearance exonerates her from any suspicion of madness, and proves her whole story to be true.
  • However, when the Governess tries desperately to point out the apparition, Flora gives no sign of recognition – instead, she looks at the Governess with a new seriousness. Mrs. Grose loudly asserts that she doesn't see anything; the Governess feels her argument falling apart.
  • Mrs. Grose, thinking fast, sides with Flora, telling her that the Governess is just joking, and that it's impossible that Miss Jessel should be there.
  • Flora continues to look at the Governess coldly – and for once, she loses her aura of perfect beauty and looks like any other petulant little girl. She lashes out against the Governess, saying that she sees nothing and has never seen anything.
  • Flora ends her little tirade by begging Mrs. Grose to take her away from "her" – not Miss Jessel, but the Governess!
  • When the Governess gets back to the house, Flora is gone, and so are her things. Miles, however, is around, and stays close to her – she has the feeling that he wants to be with her.

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