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Archetype myths in Turn of the Screw

The Archetypal Myth in Turn of The Screw In one surface reading of Henry Jamess Turn of the Screw, the governess appears to be a victim of circumstance. Some critics however, say that she is not without blame in the turn of events that characterizes the story. They claim that leading to her demise are certain character flaws, such as envy and pride. In categorizing her character as such, this novella resonates several themes found throughout literature. In Northrop Fryes essay The Archetypes of Literature, Frye suggests that there appears to be a relatively restricted and simple group of formulas in literature. These formulas or converging patterns seem to correlate with the natural cycle. Frye considers criticism that searches for these forms, a kind of literary anthropology(Frye,480). In the essay, he identifies the archetype central myth of all literature as the quest-myth. Using his essay on archetypes, The Turn of The Screw, can be read and understood as a quest-myth.The Turn of The Screw is really two myths in one. The first story would be that of the friends who are gathered on Christmas Eve telling stories. The second story would be the tale of the governess. Frye categorizes myths in phases. The second story can be interpreted in terms of these phases (Frye,483). Phase one is the dawn, spring, and birth phase(Frye,483). In The Turn of the Screw, the story begins with Douglass background on the governess. This is the creation of the new story. The governess is young and we learn that she has,at the age of twenty, on taking service for the first time,so she is at the beginning of her adult life.(James,25)Next the story moves on to her narration. She arrives at Bly and is pleasantly surprised to find the house is beautiful and the children are handsome and extremely well mannered. This is phase number two, the zenith, summer, marriage, triumph phase (Frye,483). At this point the governess has just entered par...

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