Study Guide

The Turn of the Screw Chapter 11

By Henry James

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Chapter 11

  • Late the next day, the Governess meets up with Mrs. Grose to reveal what she saw the previous night.
  • Their meetings have been made more difficult by the Governess's constant watch over the children, but the younger woman still draws comfort from them. She speaks rather condescendingly of Mrs. Grose's complete lack of imagination, which is apparently a good thing in this context – it saves her from worrying about the children as much as she could.
  • Mrs. Grose listens as the Governess relates the event of the last night. Here goes…
  • The Governess went out to fetch Miles after she saw him from the window. He came to her willingly, and she took him silently inside, back to his room. The Governess admits to feeling a little thrill of triumph at this moment; how could he possibly make up a plausible excuse for this action?
  • The Governess was suddenly struck with the fear that perhaps Miles had her under his control; she felt a kind of admiration for him.
  • With nothing else to do, the Governess asked Miles straight up what he was doing out on the lawn.
  • He cunningly told her that he wanted to get her to think that he was a bad boy for once. He claims that he stayed up late reading, and went down to the lawn at midnight. He and Flora had planned earlier for the little girl to wake up so that the Governess would notice her at the window, and in turn notice Miles outside. He made it out to be a playful trap that the Governess walked right into.
  • What are we to make of all this? We're not quite sure yet.

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