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The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

The Supernatural

What's a good ghost story without a ghost? The Turn of the Screw does even better than your average creepy tale – it offers readers two ghosts for the price of one. The supernatural plays a c...

Innocence

What exactly does "innocent" mean, anyway? Does it just mean free from guilt, or does it imply something a little broader – free from knowledge, perhaps? In The Turn of the Screw, Henry James...

Good vs. Evil

Taken at face value, The Turn of the Screw is about the classic struggle between good and evil: you've got your obvious bad guy, who also happens to be a creepy ghost-stalker. On the other hand, yo...

Appearances

Characters in The Turn of the Screw are basically judged entirely on their physical appearances – sweeping speculations are often made based simply on how people look. Hmm. Seem problematic?...

Repression

Well, seeing as The Turn of the Screw was published right at the tail end of the Victorian era, a period infamous for its prim, proper exterior and wild, often truly bizarre interior, you can bet t...

Society and Class

If you take away the whole ghost thing, The Turn of the Screw really becomes a story about social class. Interestingly, it's still a horror story. James uses class difference to create much of the...

Wisdom and Knowledge

We generally think of wisdom and knowledge as good things, right? In The Turn of the Screw, it's hard to pin knowledge down as good or bad; the best you can really do is say that knowledge is fine&...

Gender

The world of The Turn of the Screw is dominated by women, whose lives in turn are dominated by men, whether they know it or not. Gender plays a huge role in the development of the rather warped net...

Literature and Writing

Yes, The Turn of the Screw is simply a great story for the sake of being a story – but it's also a great comment upon the art of writing or telling a tale. James sets up his piece within an i...

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