Turn of the Screw Seminar - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Turn of the Screw Seminar

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  1. Turn of the Screw Seminar “the curtain rose on the last act of my dreadful drama, and the catastrophe was precipitated” (James 53) Catastrophe is the conclusion of a play, wherein we embark on the falling action and is a term often used to designate an unhappy ending as it’s associated with tragedies. For example, the “oh, snap!” moment in Oedipus Rex where Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus facepalms, then . . . The term denoument is more commonly used today which is defined as “the final unraveling of the plot [. . .] the solution of the mystery [. . .] an ingenious untying of the knot of an intrigue [. . .] an explanation of all the secrets and misunderstandings” (A Handbook to Literature, 5th edition). Sometimes when you untie the knot, however, there are loose threads and new questions. Offer a plausible explanation for the end of Turn of the Screw. Be sure to use specifics from earlier in the novella in support of your explanation and explore how previous details are solved or unraveled in light of this ending.

  2. Turn of the Screw Seminar “She [Mrs. Grose] shook her head with dignity. ’I’ve heard --!’ [. . .] ‘From that child – horrors!’ [. . .] It was quite in another manner that I, for my part, let myself go. ‘Oh, thank God!’” (James 75) Literary form has been defined as a setting up of expectations in the reader, then the affirmation, denial, or twisting of those expectations by the audience. Analyze the expectations Henry James sets up in Turn of the Screw and how those expectations were then affirmed, denied, or twisted in the reader. Be sure to use specific details and quotes from the text to support and illustrate your points, then explore how interplay between author and reader contributes to the work as a whole.

  3. Turn of the Screw Seminar “the moon made the nigh extraordinarily penetrable and showed me on the lawn a person, diminished by distance, who stood there motionless and as if fascinated, looking up to where I had appeared [. . .] but the presence on the lawn was not in the least what I had conceived [. . .] the presence on the lawn – I felt sick as I made it out – was poor little Miles himself” (James 43). Innocence and corruption: In The Turn of the Screw, the misbehavior of the children, Miles and Flora, causes the reader to suspect that they may not be as innocent as they seem. The source of their misbehavior, however, is left ambiguous: Is it natural mischievousness or has it been instigated by a malicious force? Trace the changes in the way the governess views the children and their misbehaviors. How does the uncertainty about the children, and their possible awareness of the ghosts, intensify the governess's predicament? Consider whether the governess is more concerned with lying or danger from a ghost or diabolical being, and why.

  4. Turn of the Screw Seminar Turn of the Screw: “an action that makes a bad situation worse, especially on that forces someone to do something” (Cambridge Dictionary Online) Who turns the screw in this plot – the governess? Miles? Someone or something else? Identify these turns and how they force the plot, force characters to do something that makes a bad situation worse. Include how this situation, and ambiguity if it is present, contributes to the work as a whole.