The Turn of the Screw
by Henry James
The Turn of the Screw Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
I hesitated; then I judged best simply to hand her my letter – which, however, had the effect of making her, without taking it, simply put her hands behind her. She shook her head sadly. "Such things are not for me, miss."
My counselor couldn't read! I winced at my mistake, which I attenuated as I could, and opened my letter again to repeat it to her. (2.5)
Mrs. Grose's illiteracy introduces the idea that some types of learning or knowledge are not for everyone.
I was lifted aloft on a great wave of infatuation and pity. I found it simple, in my ignorance, my confusion, and perhaps my conceit, to assume that I could deal with a boy whose education for the world was all on the point of beginning. I am unable even to remember at this day what proposal I framed for the end of his holidays and the resumption of his studies. Lessons with me, indeed, that charming summer, we all had a theory that he was to have; but I now feel that, for weeks, the lessons must have been rather my own. I learned something – at first, certainly – that had not been one of the teachings of my small, smothered life; learned to be amused, and even amusing, and not to think for the morrow. It was the first time, in a manner, that I had known space and air and freedom, all the music of summer and all the mystery of nature. And then there was consideration – and consideration was sweet. Oh, it was a trap – not designed, but deep – to my imagination, to my delicacy, perhaps to my vanity; to whatever, in me, was most excitable. The best way to picture it all is to say that I was off my guard. (3.8)
Here, we see the teacher become the student – the Governess ends up learning from her pupils how to enjoy day-to-day life…but is it simply a diversion? Can this new "knowledge" really be a distraction?
The flash of this knowledge – for it was knowledge in the midst of dread – produced in me the most extraordinary effect, started, as I stood there, a sudden vibration of duty and courage. I say courage because I was beyond all doubt already far gone. I bounded straight out of the door again, reached that of the house, got in an instant, upon the drive, and, passing along the terrace as fast as I could rush, turned a corner and came full in sight. But it was in sight of nothing now – my visitor had vanished. (4.6)
The Governess is constantly having these "flashes" of insight, particularly with regards to the ghosts – how? Why? We never get a satisfactory explanation for how she "knows" things.