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The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James

Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

I got hold of Mrs. Grose as soon after this as I could; and I can give no intelligible account of how I fought out the interval. Yet I still hear myself cry as I fairly threw myself into her arms: "They know – it's too monstrous: they know, they know!"

"And what on earth – ?" I felt her incredulity as she held me.

"Why, all that we know – and heaven knows what else besides!" (7.1)

The worst possible threat, apparently, is not just that the children might know as much as the adults – but that they might know more. Gasp!

Quote #8

"No, no – there are depths, depths! The more I go over it, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I fear. I don't know what I don't see – what I don't fear!" (7.7)

Again with the depths, huh? Everything in this story has depths – they perhaps represent sinkholes of knowledge, things that one can never really understand or know everything about.

Quote #9

"[…] Oh, yes, we may sit here and look at them, and they may show off to us there to their fill; but even while they pretend to be lost in their fairytale they're steeped in their vision of the dead restored. He's not reading to her," I declared; "they're talking of them – they're talking horrors! I go on, I know, as if I were crazy; and it's a wonder I'm not. What I've seen would have made you so; but it has only made me more lucid, made me get hold of still other things." (12.1)

Here, the Governess presents the odd and rather condescending idea that the knowledge that she has gained and the things that she's experienced have only made her stronger and helped her see clearer, but could have destroyed somebody else (like, for example, Mrs. Grose).

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