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The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James

Repression Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"[…] It sounded dull – it sounded strange; and all the more so because of his main condition."

"Which was – ?"

"That she should never trouble him – but never, never: neither appeal nor complain nor write about anything; only meet all questions herself, receive all moneys from his solicitor, take the whole thing over and let him alone. She promised to do this, and she mentioned to me that when, for a moment, disburdened, delighted, he held her hand, thanking her for the sacrifice, she already felt rewarded.

"But was that all her reward?" one of the ladies asked.

"She never saw him again." (Prologue.18)

As a proper young lady, we can imagine that the Governess doesn't often feel the touch of a man – and so this brief contact with her dashing employer seems like enough of a reward for the isolated life she's about to embark upon.

Quote #2

It was a pleasure at these moments to feel myself tranquil and justified; doubtless, perhaps, also to reflect that by my discretion, my quiet good sense and general high propriety, I was giving pleasure – if he ever thought of it! – to the person to whose pressure I had responded. What I was doing was what he had earnestly hoped and directly asked of me, and that I could, after all, do it proved even a greater joy than I had expected. I daresay I fancied myself, in short, a remarkable young woman and took comfort in the faith that this would more publicly appear. (3.9)

While the Governess never comes right out and admits that she's carrying a blazing torch for the children's uncle, she indulges in a lot of speculation about him and the, er, "pleasure" she might bring him.

Quote #3

One of the thoughts that, as I don't in the least shrink now from noting, used to be with me in these wanderings was that it would be as charming as a charming story suddenly to meet someone. Someone would appear there at the turn of a path and would stand before me and smile and approve. I didn't ask more than that – I only asked that he should know and the only way to be sure he knew would be to see it, and the kind light of it, in his handsome face. (3.10)

Ah, so what the Governess is really seeking is male approval – her wildest fantasy, it appears, is that of finding someone to validate her.

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