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The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw


by Henry James


Character Role Analysis

Miss Jessel (to the Governess)

Miss Jessel is interestingly aligned with the Governess; after all, she was the previous governess. There are many ways in which the two women seem almost to be two sides of the same coin; the dead governess had desires that she acted out with Peter Quint, while the living one has desires that she can't or won't act on (she longs for her employer). One might see Miss Jessel as the Governess gone horribly wrong. This similarity is highlighted in two scenes: first, when the Governess accidentally sinks down on the staircase in the same place where she'd seen Miss Jessel's ghost earlier, and then in the schoolroom, where both of the women seem to have a certain right to be there – the Governess even feels like an intruder for a moment.