Study Guide

The Turn of the Screw Chapter 13

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Chapter 13

  • Another tense month passes, and the Governess continues to keep a watchful eye on the two children. She has the odd feeling that the little group is constantly avoiding topics that hit a little too close to home.
  • The Governess is getting a little paranoid – she's certain the children secretly wonder if and when she'll make some reference to Miss Jessel.
  • The children are fascinated with stories of the Governess's past, and they ask to hear about her life over and over again.
  • The summer is gone, and autumn falls on Bly. The ghosts don't appear again to the Governess, and she has the feeling that the house and grounds are like an empty stage after a performance.
  • The lack of ghostly presence is fortunate for the Governess, but she worries about what the children might be seeing that she's not seeing. She's sure that at times the ghosts appear secretly to the children, even when she's around – her fears start to turn into obsessions.
  • The Governess privately rehearses a confrontation with the children, but doesn't act on it.
  • The worst fear that plagues her is the idea that the children have seen more than she has.
  • However, though this eats away at her on the inside, on the outside, business is as usual. Whenever things get awkward or uncomfortable, one of the children asks promptly about their uncle. Despite the fact that he's made it clear that he won't visit or write, the children write him beautiful letters (which the Governess doesn't send).
  • Adorable though the children are, the strain of constant vigilance takes its toll on the Governess. She's almost relieved when something does happen – though, in her comparison of the coming events to a thunderstorm, we're pretty sure that this "something" isn't good.

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