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The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James

Literature and Writing Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

"What is your title?"

"I haven't one."

"Oh, I have!" I said. (Prologue.18)

Again, we're reminded that this is a piece of writing – the Prologue's narrator is clearly a writer (we know that it is actually he who published this story, supposedly), and he's always thinking in terms of literary construction.

Quote #5

It may be, of course, above all, that what suddenly broke into this gives the previous time a charm of stillness – that hush in which something gathers or crouches. The change was actually like the spring of a beast. (3.8)

Wow, foreshadow much? The Governess has a way of leaving us with little mini-cliffhangers; she warns us every time things are about to get worse. This is a profoundly literary strategy – it builds reader anticipation skillfully, without being too heavy-handed or giving things away early.

Quote #6

It was not that I didn't wait, on this occasion, for more, for I was rooted as deeply as I was shaken. Was there a "secret" at Bly – a mystery of Udolpho or an insane, an unmentionable relative kept in unsuspected confinement? (4.1)

Interestingly, the first references that spring to mind when the Governess sees Quint from afar are literary ones; this keeps the story within a certain literary framework and recalls the genre of gothic horror.

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