Study Guide

The Turn of the Screw Chapter 5

By Henry James

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Chapter 5

  • Mrs. Grose dashes outside to see what's wrong with the Governess – apparently, she looks just terrible. The Governess spills the beans about the strange man; she tells the housekeeper about both encounters with him.
  • Mrs. Grose questions the Governess about this man. They establish that he is certainly not a gentleman; in the words of the Governess, "He's a horror" (5.11).
  • The Governess decides not to go to church, as she's afraid to leave the children alone at the house with the mystery man lurking around.
  • The two women discuss the man's appearances further, wondering what his intentions were, how he got the house the first time, and what he will do in the future.
  • The Governess finally gives a description of the face she saw; he's red-haired, handsome, has piercing eyes, and, as she says, he looks like an actor.
  • She also claims that he's wearing someone else's nice clothes, though how she knows this, we have no idea. She reiterates her certainty that he's no gentleman.
  • Mrs. Grose can't contain herself – she obviously knows this man. She affirms the fact that they're not his clothes, they're the master's. We get a name for the mysterious intruder, Peter Quint.
  • Apparently, Quint was the master's valet when he lived at Bly. After the master left the country to return to London, Quint stayed on, and was in charge of the household. We get the feeling that this was not a good time.
  • Oh yeah, and one more important fact emerges – Peter Quint is dead.

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