This fits with the depiction of Alice in The Last of the Mohicans, for she learns to cast of some of the more rigid restrictions of British society and to adapt to her American experience.
The Turn of the Screw is one of James's ghost stories, telling of a governess who is caring for two children and who encounters the ghosts of their past. The story of the governess is told from the point of view of a third party, a man named Douglas who is telling about his sisters' governess while he is at a party on Christmas Eve. He says that the governess reported a case of ghosts some years before and that she had recorded her experience in a manuscript, presumably what makes up the rest of the story. She has been hired to care for two children, and she likes her job. However, she begins to see ghosts in the vicinity of the children and believes that these figures are trying to reach the children. The apparitions are clearly not a manifestation of the mind of the governess, for they have a clear influence on the children and cause the death of the boy.
James explained in his preface to the novel his view of the work as a ghost story in which Peter Quint and Miss Jessel were not so much "ghosts" as "goblins, elves, imps, demons" whose villainy of motive is the essence of the issue:
What he happily comprehended was that any definition of that motive would inevitably dissipate the eerie atmosphere which would be the whole point of the tour de force. . . The job of the author was to make the reader's general sense of evil intense enough. The latter's own imagination would then finish the job.
The ambiguity regarding the meaning of the story relates very much to the nature of the governess herself. She is described as very young, only 20, a clergyman's daughter seeking her first position. She has not yet experienced much of the world, and as a clergyman's daughter it is presumed that she has been sheltered. In her first positi...
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