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The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw Chapter 3 Summary

  • This awkward conversation doesn't stop Mrs. Grose and the Governess from growing closer. Their friendship is cemented by Miles's arrival; it turns out that Mrs. Grose was right; once the Governess lays eyes on the boy, all her fears about him dissipate.
  • Miles is just as adorably adorable as his sister, and he inspires an incredible feeling of tenderness in his new teacher. His physical beauty is so great that it actually exudes a sense of purity and innocence.
  • The Governess, after being swept off her feet by Miles's gorgeous exterior, immediately has a talk with Mrs. Grose – all of her suspicions about the boy have been erased. She decides to do nothing about the letter of dismissal from his school, and not to write to the children's uncle.
  • The two women embrace like sisters, vowing that they'll take care of the children, despite Miles's school-related troubles.
  • For a while, everything is just peachy keen. The Governess and her two angelic charges enjoy the summer at Bly; though there are difficulties that lie ahead (for example, what to do with Miles's education), the women and children seem content to let everything slide a little in the summer months.
  • In retrospect, the Governess sees this peaceful, idyllic time as "that hush in which something gathers or crouches" (3.8) before springing to attack. Hmm. It doesn't take a genius to see that something majorly bad is coming.
  • During those summer days, the Governess enjoys taking a walk in the early evening, after the kiddies are tucked in bed and her work for the day is done. On these walks, she reflects upon the pleasure of her position in the world, and wonders if her obedience and discretion might give pleasure to her mysterious but longed for employer.
  • Despite the fact that she only saw him twice, she's clearly fostering very special feelings for the children's uncle.
  • One day, the Governess has an unpleasant surprise on her usually pleasant walk; as she idly daydreams of an encounter with a kind man (hopefully her employer!), she is shocked to see a man actually appear. However, he doesn't materialize on the path in front of her, as she imagines, nor is he kind at all.
  • The figure the Governess sees is far off – he's standing on one of the old towers connected to the house. Even at this distance, she can see him quite clearly. He's a stranger, and the Governess suddenly feels exposed and endangered, since she is a young woman alone, confronted with an unknown man.
  • The mystery man and the Governess regard each other – she can't figure out who he is and what he's doing there. He's not wearing a hat, which suggests to the Governess that he's familiar with the house and is at ease there.
  • The two are too far apart to speak, but they match gazes challengingly. The man keeps staring at the Governess as he stalks around the top of the tower – creepy! We're getting goosebumps already.

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