The Turn of the Screw
Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
I find that I really hang back; but I must take my plunge. In going on with the record of what was hideous at Bly, I not only challenge the most liberal faith – for which I little care; but – and this is another matter – I renew what I myself suffered, I again push my way through it to the end. (9.4)
Here, the Governess acknowledges the documentary nature of her task – even though it pains her, she forces herself to keep writing to the end.
Would exasperation, however, if relief had longer been postponed, finally have betrayed me? It little matters, for relief arrived. I call it relief, though it was only the relief that a snap brings to a strain or the burst of a thunderstorm to a day of suffocation. It was at least change, and it came with a rush. (13.4)
The Governess really has a way with catchy chapter endings – she gives hints at what is to come, but refuses to give away more (except the constant implication that what's coming is really bad). This strategy is what makes the story obviously a short story, not a personal manuscript as we are meant to believe; in this clear structure, we can see the hand of the fiction writer behind all of this, despite its pose as a kind of testimony.