Analysis of The Relationship Between Mrs. Grose and The Governess in The Turn of The Screw

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

In Henry James’s gothic novella, The Turn Of The Screw, The Governess virtually narrates the tale in manuscript. The relationship between The Governess and other characters of the story shapes the plot development and character choices that arise throughout the novella. In particular, the relationship between the Governess and Mrs. Grose, the innocent and naive housekeeper, shows the odd connection that they have while the world seems to spin around them. This connection, as well as the novella, may be too good to be true. The Governess’s take on her situation has a big part to do with her head. She invents everything, misunderstands the nature of ghosts, thinks that the children are possessed, and that everything that goes wrong has to do with the “evil” supernatural forces. However, as much as she invents this, Mrs. Grose encourages these ideas, reassuring The Governess.

In a way, The Governess is not only a victim of the supernatural, but of Mrs. Grosses comfort and advice. Described as an innocent and oblivious housekeeper, Mrs. Grose is the last piece of the puzzle that The Governess needs to instigate and believe in these figments of her imagination. As their relationship grows throughout the novella, Mrs. Grose becomes a collaborator for The Governess, heightening her fear of the ghosts and their effect on the people of Bly. In the beginning of chapter six, Mrs. Grose agree with The Governess and honors her awareness to her surroundings. The Governess views Mrs. Grose as simple, and someone not capable of deception, even when she’s faced with proof that there’s more to Mrs. Grose. But when the Governess finds out that Mrs. Grose is illiterate, it enhances her idea that Mrs. Grose is is not smart and would not have the capability of manipulation.

Once she believes the apparently earnest Mrs. Grose, she begins to see more ghosts than Mrs. Grose actually suggested. The Governess is so invested in her own hallucinations that once she believes there are ghosts at Bly, it’s easier to see one if she’s on the lookout. As her mental state becomes more and more confused, she begins to make up things and tell them to Mrs. Grose, progressing the story’s plot. In a way, The Governess needed this for her balance; she thinks of Mrs. Grose as her confidante, but she doesn’t necessarily do things for the right reasons. When it comes to Mrs. Grose, she might have an ulterior motive.

Until The Governess describes the man she sees in the window to Mrs. Grose and she confirms that it’s Peter Quint, The Governess’s thoughts are heightened. In their discussions, The Governess gives a detailed explanation of the ghost which unravels many questions since they both coincidentally have the same vivid visions of these ghosts and maybe aren’t just jumping to conclusions. Mrs. Grose suggests the supernatural to her the first time; ow does the audience even know the history of Peter Quint and Jessel, it could have all been fabricated by Mrs. Grose. The Governess has no one else to talk to other than Mrs. Grose which could give reason as to why she might abuse this relationship. There is no definite answers to conclude this novella however, no matter the extent of these depictions and possibilities, we will never know. Mrs. Grose may be lying in some way or they both may just be jumping to conclusions based on the information they gather together.

The more that The Governess and Mrs. Grose collaborate, the more questions arise, making this gothic novella challenge the readers. There is an ongoing debate about Mrs. Grose character: can she be trusted, what are her motivations, or is she just being a confidant for the governess? Although Mrs. Grose seemed like the missing puzzle piece to The Governess life, she often instigated many situations as well. Just like these characters relationship, by not ever supplying a solid conclusion, everything is subject to doubt in this novella.

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