Study Guide

The Turn of the Screw Chapter 21

By Henry James

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Chapter 21

  • Early the next morning, Mrs. Grose comes to tell the Governess that Flora has fallen ill with a fever – she was kept up the night before with fears about her governess (the present one, not the former).
  • The Governess is still certain that Flora's lying, and is certain that the girl will try and convince her uncle that the Governess is no good.
  • The Governess decides that Mrs. Grose should take Flora away to London to see her uncle, while the Governess herself will stay at home and try to win over Miles.
  • The Governess feels sure that she has to give Miles more time to come clean about the ghosts – she thinks she can still win him over to her side.
  • Mrs. Grose agrees to leave with Flora, according to the Governess's plan. She agrees that this is the right thing to do – Flora, apparently, has been saying terrible things about the Governess since the day before, and Mrs. Grose fears that it's the influence of the ghosts that cause her to act this way. Despite her failure to see Miss Jessel by the pond, Mrs. Grose still believes in the Governess's story.
  • One last complication presents itself: according to Mrs. Grose, the Governess's letter never made it to town. She thinks that Miles might have taken it; this act makes her imagine that his crime at school might have been the same – that of stealing letters.
  • The two women part, hoping that Miles can still be "saved," and that the Governess herself can be saved and redeemed by him.

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