Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Turn of the Screw

Category: Gothic

Author: Henry James

Summary: The story starts with friends sharing ghost stories 'round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. Only the young governess can see the ghosts; only she suspects that the previous governess and her lover are controlling the two orphaned children (a girl and a boy) for some evil purpose. The household staff doesn't know what she's talking about, the children are evasive when questioned, and the master of the house (the children's uncle) is absent. Why does the young girl claim not to see a perfectly visible woman standing on the far side of the lake? Are the children being deceptive, or is the governess being paranoid?


At 3:53 PM, Blogger sandyb said...


I thought "Turn of the Screw" by Henry James was a really tough book to read. The language is like old english making the sentances hard to understand and extremely long. It was a short, but very difficult book. It was also hard to understand what was going on in the book. Often after reading chapters I had to go on to sparknotes to understand what had happend. It was very easy to find critism for this book however, and it had a lot of strong gothic themes. I chose this book for my first book and I do not recomend that. It was difficult for the starting book. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it was my second book because I would have known what to look for while reading and could connect certain events with other book's events. I liked the book because it did follow the gothic pattern, but James' writing style was very difficult. I thought it was easy to relate to other books if you knew what to look for which is why I recomend this book as a second or third ALIS read. I think that students who LOVE reading will love this book. Higher level readers would find this book amazing. But don't kid yourself, if you enjoy easier books, like Stephen King, and have a hard time getting unmentioned ideas, THIS MAY NOT BE FOR YOU! I like to excell in everything, and did not enjoy reading this. So beware! A tough read but a good ALIS book.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger kbecker said...

This was the book I didn't like out of the 3. The language was difficult to understand and somet5imes contradictory. It looks small on the outside, but it took me a very long time to read it and I often had to re read the pages. It was a good book to analyze because there were a lot of common themes in gothic novels, and same motifs. Disrupted mind and setting was one connection that was found throughout the book that helped me in the end. I would reccomend this book to people who like very confusing mysteries, and who like to re read A LOT. It did relate to my other ALIS books though, with the common motifs and symbols, etc. The criticism wasn't too bad, there was a lot on themes and how they relate to the characters, which was helpful. I did like it in the end, because it was a good plot and story line, it was just very difficult to follow.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger katieh2 said...


Out of the three ALIS novels I read, this was by far my least favorite. To begin, the language used in this novel is extremely difficult. I didn't know so many words and had to pick my way through every paragraph. I spent a lot of the time not really knowing what was going on in the novel, because I couldn't get past the language barrrier enough to understand the plot. One may want to read this book because it is short (less than 100 pages) but I think it was definitely the hardest novel I read. On the positive side, however, it was easy to connect this novel to the other two (assuming you understand it) because it follows gothic ideas to the tee. It was also easy to find literary criticism to support your themes and ideas. To be completely honest, I wouldn't recommend this book for ALIS because if you don't understand it, you are in trouble for your essay. It is a good book overall, but it might be better to read on your own when you don't have a grade dependent on your analysis of it.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger katieh2 said...

Kday said...
Out of all of the books I have read this year, including all other literature outside of ALIS, this book was by far my least favorite. The overall plot of the story I found very disinteresting because it seemed to be a very simple plot that was clouded by the extravagant language and strange writing style. It seemed to take James about six paragraphs to illustate one idea that could be summed up in a sentence. I do not know many people that would have the patience to delve deep into this book, because the language and writing style truly hindered my understanding of the overall meaning. "The Turn of the Screw" does however, contain many Gothic elements, such as emphasis on setting and the mental state of important characters. It was especially hard for me to start my ALIS project with this book, not knowing the basics of the project. I would probably NOT reccommend this book to any high school student, because I have even heard from college graduates that the book made little, if no sense to them. While it did relate well to the other books I read for the ALIS project, it was very very hard to make a meaningful connection between them, because I could barely skim the surface of the underlying meaning. To be completely honest, I don't think this is a good book for the high school level, even if someone was VERY intellectual.


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