☉ [PDF / Epub] ☆ The Turn of the Screw By Henry James ❤ – Tshirtforums.co.uk

The Turn of the Screw summary The Turn of the Screw, series The Turn of the Screw, book The Turn of the Screw, pdf The Turn of the Screw, The Turn of the Screw ac0b11afd4 A Very Young Woman S First Job Governess For Two Weirdly Beautiful, Strangely Distant, Oddly Silent Children, Miles And Flora, At A Forlorn EstateAn Estate Haunted By A Beckoning EvilHalf Seen Figures Who Glare From Dark Towers And Dusty Windows Silent, Foul Phantoms Who, Day By Day, Night By Night, Come Closer, Ever Closer With Growing Horror, The Helpless Governess Realizes The Fiendish Creatures Want The Children, Seeking To Corrupt Their Bodies, Possess Their Minds, Own Their SoulsBut Worse Much Worse The Governess Discovers That Miles And Flora Have No Terror Of The Lurking EvilFor They Want The Walking Dead As Badly As The Dead Want Them

10 thoughts on “The Turn of the Screw

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    No, no there are depths, depths The I go over it, the I see in it, and the I see in it, the I fear I don t know what I don t see what I don t fear Screen shot from the 1961 version of The Innocents based on the James short story.A governess is hired to look after the nephew and niece of a man who has inherited the responsibility for the children after the death of their parents He is very explicit in his instructions to the governess that he is not to be bothered with excessive communications The governess is young and pretty and wants to impress her new employer by doing exactly what he wishes She wants to be seen as competent, and in a sense this need to please proves to be a vulnerability that, as she tries to shield and protect, she actually puts everyone at risk Risk of what you might ask That becomes the unknown element of the story The reader doesn t really know what to be afraid of What nature of evil are we dealing with The children are ethereally beautiful The governess is compromised immediately by preconceived notions, that we all have to a certain extent, that beauty equates to goodness I was dazzled by their loveliness When the boy Miles is kicked out of his exclusive school for unrevealed reasons, the governess cannot fathom what he could have possibly done to deserve this level of embarrassing punishment It was inconceivable to her that he was capable of anything remotely improper As the governess begins to try to understand her young charges, she also begins to discover that there are swirling questions about what has happened to other people who have been associated with the children in the past She cross examines the housekeeper and carefully the children, ferreting out bits and pieces of information that leave a murky picture in her mind The reluctance which everyone shows in speaking about the past makes the governess and suspicious that something potentially perplexing lies in the truth She starts to see dead people I was ready to know the very worst that was to be known What I had then had an ugly glimpse of was that my eyes might be sealed just while theirs were most opened Her first thought was to protect the innocence of the children, but maybe what she should have been worried about was protecting her own innocence It becomes a game of ignoring these phantoms in the hopes that the children would not become aware of the existence of these ghosts, of Quint, the butler, and Miss Jessel, the ex governess Both of these people were obsessed with the children when they were alive The question becomes what do they want with the children now Of course, without confirmation of the existence of these supernatural events from other people, one does naturally tend to start questioning one s own sanity Henry James weaves in these awkward interactions between the governess and Miles There are moments when the young lad seems to be attempting to seduce his governess He calls her my dear, which sounds innocent enough, but when coupled with innuendos, the words take on a unseemly connotation The governess is not totally immune to the charm of the handsome boy Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was But I gave myself up to it it was an antidote to any pain, and I had pains than one Scholars have debated whether the governess was actually seeing the phantom manifestations or not There is certainly a desperation to how she attempts to protect the children, fully determined to keep the situation under control without having to contact her employer We watch her naivety crumble as she is battered by the strange and distant attitudes of the children and the extraordinary circumstances of the spine chilling past intruding on the present I was firmly on the side of believing the governess was losing a firm grasp on her sanity, but then James throws a wrinkle into my firm resolve when Miles makes this statement to the governess that they should not miss his sister and the housekeeper after they have fled the circumstances I suppose we shouldn t Of course we have the others Or is Miles just playing her This is a short story, but it is a short story by Henry James He has some of the same convoluted, difficult sentences that show up in his novels They may bewilder on a first read, but after another go they start to make sense I ve read enough James to find those complicated sentences, when they appear like Gordian Knots, amusing than frustrating This tale left me jangled and apprehensive as if an apparition were still strumming their fingers along the length of my sciatic nerve If you read it on the most basic level as a ghost story, you will certainly find it unsatisfying As I started to understand the deeper psychological implications of the interplay between characters, I started to realize that this is a tragedy with elements of horror that left lasting traumatic issues for those that survived If you wish to see of my most recent 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    Now you see me, now you don t. What the Meaning, understanding and certainty all become elusive chimera in this ambiguous game of hide and seek that Henry James plays with us Have you ever been in one of those weird situations where you wondered if you were losing your mind, doubting whether what you were seeing was real And what it was that you were seeing This is one of those what the heck novels that you often find in the modernist genre Not originally classed as a modernist novel, by now it is viewed as one by many modern critics because of the ambiguity and layers that James managed to capture.It is just as slippery and ambiguous and as what on earth is happening here as the most obfuscating of the modernist novels one tends to struggle with trying to figure out what is going on like with Virginia Woolf s The Waves , William Faulkner s The Sound and the Fury, Thomas Pynchon s Gravity s Rainbow Henry James might not be playing around as much as true modernists do with narrative voice although he built three layers into his narrative viewpoint, and the story is certainly a metatext.Like most modernists, he does play around to some extent with temporality, but only to a small extent, and only slightly with structure However, it is the play with meaning, the what the heck actually happened here that lends so much ambiguity and scope for interpretation that makes this novella shine.Part of what points to our narration being unreliable, is the fact that the novella is a nested metatext being a story someone is telling about a story that someone else told him about a story that someone else told him.The fun is that it reads like a Gothic novel, and for all intents and purposes, would be a Gothic novel, were it not for the subtleties in meaning and content context leaping out at the reader especially the modern, sophisticated reader who doesn t actually believe in, you know, ghosts.However, the story isn t really creepy in the way that conventional ghost stories are.Well it is, sort of.But it s also like when you walk into your house at night and the lights are dimmed and there s this hat and coat stand at the end of the passage, and in the shadows, it looks like there s a person there, watching and waiting and you wonder IS THAT Or no, is that just my imagination playing tricks on me Yet, you take our time, all the time eyeing that shadowy figure,and you quickly walk to the light switch, and flick it on Though the governess s shadowman had no hat therefore, not a gentleman Have you ever had a dream in which you vaguely become aware of the presence of someone you feel you know You seem to know him well from some other dreamscape, and yet you cannot place your finger on who he is, yet his presence seems so sinister If someone were to ask you who the shadowy man at the edge of your vision was, you might reply Why, Nobody and yet you fear him, but don t know why You know the reason is sitting just at the tip of your consciousness, but it s all cast in shadow, and yet, it makes you feel so terribly uneasy.You may even wonder, in such a dream, if that shadowy image could somehow be you yourself, but the thought of that, the very idea, makes your hair stand on end gives you a leaden pith of dread that sinks into your stomach and grips your insides with discomfort.Dream analysts would say that that strangely familiar figure is a projection of the part of your own self that you find unacceptable This other self can even appear threatening because often our aggressive impulses have to be suppressed as much as, or even than, our sexual impulses If that self came loose from under our control, it could be a dangerous thing, and therefore, we fear it, albeit on a subconscious level.Have you ever had a dream like that This novella was reminiscent of such a dream made me feel like I was reading about such a dream.Some people read this as a ghost story, some as a horror story, and some as a psychological thriller or study there are depths, depths The I go over it the I see in it, and the I see in it the I fear I don t know what I don t see, that I don t fear I must mention that I got most of the detail about the different types of analyses from the Beidler critical edition of The Turn of the Screw that is full of background material cultural context, history, critical essays and interpretations of the text.There are Marxist interpretations of this story, Jungian interpretations, Freudian ones, Reader response analyses, Post modern, Modern, New Criticism, New Historicism views of the story, you name it Oh, and of course, there are those among some of the abovementioned, who take a gay view as well There is no real evidence for or against the direction s James s orientation leaned, though I have read some excerpts of his letters to young men that would incline me to agree that there s a strong possibility that he was gay.Among the gay proponents, are those who say that the governess is a subconscious projection by James of himself and his repressed urges Whatever other conclusions one might come to, you have to admit that the governess is one tight little ball of repressed urges I see her as being under a lot of pressure from various origins One of the pressures she has, is an urge to gain power If you think about it, the governess is actually a nobody One of the younger children of an obscure country preacher, and a female to boot not much going for her, beyond some homeschooling privately bred is there and now she is suddenly at the helm of an entire household, and quite a wealthy one at that but her charming, seductive employer wants no contact with her She is at the helm all on her ownsome Quite a situation for an inexperienced young country girl to find herself in.Wayne C Booth, a well known lit crit has said In English alone I have counted, before I got too bored to go on, than five hundred titles of books and articles about The Turn of the Screw , and since it has been translated and discussed in dozens of other languages the total must yield than a lifetime s possible reading.so yeah there s been a lot of gabble about this little story, and the interesting part is that hardly anyone seems able to agree on what the story actually says James has been very subtle and clever Even in his preface, and in his responses to readers of the story, he did not give the game away Indeed, he says in his preface, that the reader s own imagination, his own sympathy and horror will supply him quite sufficiently with all the particulars Ha, and so it has proved to be.Start of SPOILER section Here are some of the variations on interpretations of how the screw really turns view spoiler 1 A straight Ghost story reading In this version, the ghosts are real ghosts, and everything the governess says is reliable and true.2 A variety of ironic readings According to the most cynical versions, the governess is cruel and egocentric she either made the whole thing up to get attention, or used a fiction of seeing ghosts to try and gain the status of a heroine and to make the master of Bly whom she is in love with take notice of her.Other readings are cynical of actual ghosts, but sympathetic towards the governess in interpreting the ghosts as illusions seen by the governess Some feel that these illusions are the product of a diseased mind, or of a madwoman, some feel that they are the products of her hysteria, brought on by her sexual longing for the master of Bly Some of the ironic readings are mixed Some people say that the whole thing was a prank by the children, or the servants, or even an attempt by Mrs Grose to drive the governess mad, so that Mrs Grose could have her position back as head of the Bly household.In any case, this was my first take on the story, before I had read all the hundreds of interpretations out there My impression of the children s uncle, the governesses charming, extravagant, seductive employer was what a douchebag The typical tycoon who extricates himself from his interpersonal responsibilities with cash Set the poor little orphans up in a nice comfortable mansion with a string of servants, and he doesn t have to know that they exist I quite enjoyed the Marxist critique of the story, and of course, no Marxist would have any charitable feelings towards our dashing rich aristocrat who so blithely consigns people to nothingness, banishing them from his sphere of consciousness, like ants At first I was entirely sympathetic towards the governess With her first sighting of Quint, although I thought the whole set up of how she spotted him was eerie and strange, I initially suspected that Quint might be a ghost, though one isn t entirely sure this is how subtle James is I thought he might possibly be a person lurking around the place in a sinister way The thing that caught me there, was that she was walking around thinking and daydreaming about her employer and wishing he would appear and lo A man did appear However, like the governess says not quite the man she had wanted to appear.Those who argue in favor of actual ghosts, say that the fact that Mrs Grose could identify him, proves that he was really the ghost of Quint However, she has only the governess word to go on, and recall the governess s initial vagueness about how he looked When first asked to describe him, she says that he looks like nobody That rather shook me in a weird way It was my first indication that all might not be quite right with the governess s mind The second sighting at the dining room really impressed me Wow One of the best and weirdest pieces of fiction I had read in a long, long time There s so much in that little scene First, the way she sees him suddenly through the window, looking in Even if he were a real person, coming suddenly upon a stranger looking in on your privacy like that must give anybody quite a turn Note, that she then realizes that he is not looking for her She sounds almost a bit disappointed about that but how does she know that How does she know who he is looking for Then the next part is so well done I read governess s problem as being one of ego and narcissism Like we ve said, nobody ever takes any notice of her even the children don t take much notice of her they merely seem to humor her while they re actually living in their own little world But the children had adored Quint and Jessel, as we have heard by now.So what does she do Just like a jealous stepmother, she goes out and puts herself in her predecessor s place She literally replaces her predecessor s image and position with her own, by going around to where he had stood, and she literally says in the story It was confusedly present to me that I ought to place myself where he had stood I did so I applied my face to the pane and looked, as he had looked, into the room As if, at this moment, to show me exactly what his range had been, Mrs Grose, as I had done for himself just before, came in from the hall This dreamscape like scenario lends itself to some very interesting Freudian and Jungian interpretations indeed In the Freudian view, ok, there are a few, actually Quint and Jessel s relationship forms an inversion of the governess and her employer s relationship Jessel and this is also part of the Marxist interpretation had taken a step down when she fell in love with a mere servant, whereas the governess s ambition goes upward, towards her employer.This replacement theme features very strongly in the story note the schoolroom scene where Jessel replaces the governess by sitting in her chair at her desk I quote ..she had looked at me long enough to appear to say that her right to sit at my table was as good as mine to sit at hers While these instants lasted, indeed, I had the extraordinary chill of feeling that it was I who was the intruder.To me the scary part is the implication that both Quint and Jessel are projections by the governess of repressed aspects of her own psyche.But the scariest interpretation is reading the governess as a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic If one reads the story as if this was a given, it s very, very creepy, with the governesses psychosis gradually growing to such huge proportions that even the long suffering Mrs Grose takes fright and removes little Flora as quickly as she can There are some people who feel that the governess murdered Miles on purpose, but my personal reading was sympathetic towards her I thought that she had perhaps only smothered Miles in her zealous embrace Note that she does say I caught him, yes, I held him it may be imagined with what a passion So. she wasn t just giving him a friendly light quick little hug there She was squeeezing the poor tyke I had of a feeling that she was a person whose mind was slowly coming apart I felt she was a person who clung to the children as being her only justification for being someone in the world they gave her life meaning, and it is via being their governess that she is at the helm of the household at Bly I felt her worst fault was a histrionic narcissistic type of problem.Note her panic at Miles s requests to be returned to school how she fences with him She seems terrified of him leaving Bly, of him escaping from her grasp, because surely then her status, part of her whole reason for being, would be diminished.I also found that the governess kept seeming to read Mrs Grose s reaction incorrectly Did Mrs Grose really want to kiss her And all along, didn t the poor Mrs Grose simply comply with whatever ridiculous claims the governess came up with, just so that she wouldn t anger this madwoman, and or wouldn t run the risk of losing her position at Bly After all, the governess was put in charge of the household, and therefore she might have the power to fire Mrs Grose, or at least have her fired It s only at the end, after Flora couldn t take the governess excesses any, that Mrs Grose managed to scrape together enough guts to stand up to the governess in trying to protect poor Flora.There are those who see a lot of pederasty in the story between Quint and Miles, and some people even between Jessel and Flora I must admit that I originally also thought that there was at least than friendship between Quint and Miles, because that would fit in nicely with the reason why Miles was expelled It would then make sense that he probably said to those that he liked either that he likes them or loves them, or even that he would like to, to put in Victorian language, try out a bit of buggery with them.James had put Miles s reaction so beautifully He looked in vague pain all round the top of the room and drew his breath, two or three times over, as if with difficulty He might have been standing at the bottom of the sea and raising his eyes to some faint green twilight Well I said things Later on I was not so sure any.As for pederasty between the governess and the children, some have suggested that she felt a pederastic passion for Miles, and I must admit that the lines We continued silent while the maid was with us as silent, it whimsically occurred to me, as some young couple who, on their wedding journey, at the inn, feel shy in the presence of the waiter He turned round only when the waiter had left us Well so we re alone do seem rather suggestive of this Though I feel one can t be certainThe fireside narrator from the intro to the story, Douglas, was, I think, a poor fool who was taken in by the governess and believed her stories.That s or less how I saw the thing fitting together, but of course, there are a many other interpretations.In the Marxist interpretation, class differences are explored The children are scorned by their upper class peers, because they dared to lower themselves by mixing with the servants, as represented especially by Quint The governess sees Quint as a horror because he is of the lower classes, and Jessel as an evil woman because she lowered herself by falling in love with a servant.In the Freudian interpretation, you can of course expect it to be all about sex and repressed, subconscious desires I must admit that James either consciously or subconsciously used some sexual imagery Quint is associated with the tower, obviously phallic and Jessel is spotted by the lake, the latter of which is often see as a symbol for the womb Also, while Jessell appears to the governess at the lake, Flora is engaged in sticking a phallic piece of wood into a hole in another piece of wood Heh hide spoiler

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    Turn of the Screw is a pretty cool story It s about a governess who either heroically attempts to protect her two charges from malevolent ghosts or goes dangerously bonkers James leaves it ambiguous and I love that kind of story Ambiguity works for me Four stars for the plot Kindof an abrupt ending though.On the other hand there s his writing style I was at this party once and the topic was what would you do if the world was ending and the answer was generally that we would have all the sex James writes like the world is ending and he s decided to have all the punctuation Check this entirely typical sentence out I waited, but nothing came then, in the first place and there is something dire in this, I feel, than in anything I have to relate I was determined by a sense that, within a minute, all sounds from her had previously dropped and, in the second, by the circumstance that, also within the minute, she had, in her play, turned her back to the water.I don t even know what that sentence means I haven t seen punctuation wasted like that since Fanny Hill James has used so much punctuation that there was nothing but periods left to use in this review Fuck you Henry James.

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    I HAVE YOU, BUT HE HAS LOST YOU FOR EVER Questo libro m ha messo i brividi, m ha costretto a leggere solo in presenza del sole per tenermi lontano da buio e tenebre Il film tratto dal breve romanzo di H.James, del 1961 The Innocents, regia di Jack Clayton, sceneggiatura di Truman Capote, con Deborah Kerr nel ruolo di Miss Giddens, nel magico gotico terrificante splendore del CinemaScope in bwI bambini sono o non sono corrotti Sono vittime, complici o addirittura carnefici Gli spettri sono reali o allucinazioni Sono proiezioni dell immaginazione turbata dell istitutrice lei, figlia di un pastore, cos rigida da inventarsi tutto, o i fantasmi imperversano davvero Li vede solo lei o anche i bambini Lo zio dei bambini, cos disinteressato e distante, forse dio che si disinteressa del mondo Come muore il piccolo Miles forse la stessa istitutrice a soffocarlo in un abbraccio mortale Miles e il fantasma di Peter QuintIo credo che gli spettri esistono, sono reali la descrizione che l istitutrice fa di Quint chiaramente un ritratto dal vero, non il tratteggio di un sogno, di un immaginazione E credo che i bambini vedano gli spettri, anche se il lettore non li vede mai mentre li vedono Il male l Indicibile L istitutrice sembra pi uscita da un romanzo della Austen o di Emily Bront che da uno studio di Freud.Ma anche se tutte queste domande rimanessero senza risposta precisa, che importerebbe Si tratta comunque di una splendida storia d a.Degli effetti dell a, intesi anche come possibili danni.O, una storia di possessione.E l a, non forse anche possessione Henry James sommo scrittore che io amo molto In questo racconto, con il suo gioco di scatole cinesi, sembra allontanare l orrore e la tenebra invece, con reticenze, e trasparenze, con omissioni, e cautele, accresce la tensione fino al diapason.I grandi prendono un genere, ci s immergono, giocano con le sue regole e convenzioni, ne fanno quello che vogliono, ne fanno altro, e vanno oltre Quanto parente questo racconto al Carteggio Aspern Qui, come sempre in HJ, raffinati intricati intrecciati quadri psicologici.la seconda apparizione dello spettro di Peter QuintMagnifico, davvero eccezionale anche il film del 1961 in un magico bianco e nero Jack Clayton doveva essere particolarmente ispirato, non si mai ripetuto a questi livelli Titolo originale The Innocents , chiaramente riferito ai bambini tradotto in italiota con un banalissimo Suspense.Sono seguiti altri adattamenti, ma il primo rimane di gran lunga il migliore.Inizia con quandro nero e una filastrocca cantata dai bambini che fa venire la pelle d oca e si capisce dove Morricone si sia ispirato per le colonne sonore dei primi film di Dario Argento.Prosegue in stile espressionista, peraltro immediatamente abbandonato, con il dettaglio, sempre in campo nero, delle mani di Ms Giddens giunte in preghiera a invocare l aiuto divino per le vite e le anime degli innocenti In questo caso, parafrasando, si potrebbe dire che la morte corre lungo il lago, pi che il fiume.E quanto possono essere innocenti dei bambini che cantano in continuazione con abbandono e rapimento una lullaby che dice We Lay My Love And I Beneath The Weeping Willow.But Now Alone I Lie And Weep Beside The Tree.Il pomeriggio del 10 gennaio 1895 Henry James fu invitato dall arcivescovo di Canterbury a prendere una tazza di t Seduti davanti al camino insieme ai due figli dell arcivescovo, parlarono di apparizioni e terrori notturni, di come stessero sparendo le vecchie care storie di fantasmi L arcivescovo raccont che molti anni prima una signora gli aveva raccontato una storia che aveva appreso da un narratore sconosciuto, quell anonimo senza volto che sta sempre all origine di ogni storia dei bambini erano stati abbandonati alla cura dei loro servi in una vecchia casa di campagna i servi perversi e depravati li avevano corrotti, e quando morirono, le loro apparizioni tornarono a ossessionare la casa e i bambini Una storia imperfetta e senza pretese, l ombra di un ombra, che James annot nei suoi Taccuini Due anni pi tardi una rivista gli chiese una storia per il numero natalizio e in solo tre mesi, dal settembre al dicembre 1987, James scrisse quello che sarebbe probabilmente diventato il pi famoso racconto moderno IO TI HO, MENTRE LUI TI HA PERDUTO PER SEMPRE

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    There is a presumption that a book, if written concurrent with a certain time period during which a ruler of notable longevity reigned and originating from an area of the world long known, during that time period in particular, for an effusiveness of style in excess of that which may be, at a minimum, absolutely required to convey a particular message or idea, may, on occasion, if not predominantly and generally, tend toward a style that, when compared and contrasted with styles of later writers in other, distant geographies, or even stylists who espouse minimalism within the bounds of the same geographic region, might be best described, at least insofar as it can be generally encapsulated with a description of any sufficient brevity, as, to varying degrees, ponderous, overwrought, and, in the main, at least with respect to the general population, and in particular those of the Twitter generation, overly wordy.If you enjoyed the preceding 152 word sentence, you will likely enjoy The Turn of the Screw If you didn t make it past the first 140 characters, you ll want to avoid it, unless your appetite for unintentional double entendres surpasses your dislike of egregiously prolix prose, as the narrator s aptitude for inadvertently making it sound as though she is engaged in particularly inappropriate, Afternoon Delight style undertakings with her young male charge is prodigious and nigh Funkeian.

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    Redonkulous Where s my SPOOKY I mean, I thought I d get a few good jump scares out of a book with possessed children in it You know what didn t happen, not even once, while I was listening to this book THIS I m not sure why my teenage self thought The Turn of the Screw was worth 4 stars, but my older than teenage self certainly doesn t.On the surface, it seems like this should be a winner for me in the classic department short, scary short But it was kinda crap So the gist is that this governess is seeing the spirits of these two people One was the ex governess, and the other was the rascally friend of her boss And for some unexplained reason, they ve COME FOR THE CHILDREN The kids won t admit to seeing these spirits, but the governess knows they ve been in contact with the children, because shrugs Suspicious stuff I Don t Know.All I do know is that the kids never actually did anything even slightly creepy.Anyway, she enlists the help of the feeble minded housekeeper, and together they try to, um, pretend everything is ok or something What the what That s not a good plan That s not a plan at all And the entire book was filled to the brim with stuff like this By the end of it I was actively rooting for the ghosts to whisk the kids away just so it would be over.Ugh Either ghost stories have changed a whole helluva lot, or this wasn t a ghost story I mean, it sounded like this governess was just mostly a delusional nutter She fell in love with the kids uncle after meeting him once for God s sake And what was so great about him That he expressly didn t want her to inform him if there was something wrong with his dead sibling s children Meeeeh Deal with it on your own Wacka, wacka, wacka What a douche pickle Who could resist falling for that Couple that with the fact that her dingy sidekick never sees the ghosts, and I think this chick is than likely some kind of a loon frowns If you re looking for a scary story this October, keep on moving past this one I think your time would be better spent stealing sorting through your children s Halloween candy than reading this clunky turd.Non Crunchy Pantsless October Buddy ReadBecause kids are creepy little bastards

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    Me at 50% And 75% And 90% I was actually really excited to read this classic Henry James novella, a gothic ghost story published in 1898 A young woman is hired to be the governess for two young orphans by their uncle, whose good looks and charm impress the governess She wants to impress him in turn with her capability, especially when his main command to her is that she never, NEVER, bother him with any problems or concerns.She s packed off to the uncle s country estate to meet young Flora and Miles, who are delightful, beautiful children The housekeeper becomes her friend and confidante There are just a few odd things strange noises in the house footsteps, a child s cry and Miles has been expelled from his boarding school for mysterious, unnamed reasons But really everything is just fine Until she starts seeing a mysterious man and woman appear and disappear, and becomes convinced that they are the ghosts of the prior governess and another employee And she s certain that the children see these ghosts but won t admit it Also she s quite sure that these ghosts are out to get the children How is she so sure of all these things Who knows She just is And the question is is she really seeing supernatural manifestations, or is she slowly becoming and delusional or both And are the children innocent or evil James includes hints but doesn t ever answer these questions.It sounds like a fascinating psychological examination, with a narrator who is both unnamed and unreliable So it surprised me a little when I literally could barely keep my eyes open while I was reading it.The story is told in a roundabout, murky way, which helps create a sense of confusion You also have to continually plow through sentences like this one They had never, I think, wanted to do so many things for their poor protectress I mean though they got their lessons better and better, which was naturally what would please her most in the way of diverting, entertaining, surprising her reading her passages, telling her stories, acting her charades, pouncing out at her, in disguises, as animals and historical characters, and above all astonishing her by the pieces they had secretly got by heart and could interminably recite.I think Henry James must have had some sort of allergy to periods How did he even stay awake while he was writing convoluted sentences like this I persevered to the end not so hard to do when it s only 100 pages , but this story just never grew on me The whole thing was an odd and murky reading experience, which perhaps Henry James would say was his intent Too bad it was also so very boring and unsatisfying.So if you ever have insomnia, I ve got the book for you Buddy read with the Non Crunchy Pantsless group.

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    my imagination had, in a flash, turned real He did stand there I could not decide whether I was intrigued by the Gothic thriller or the intricate jalebi of the prose, a truly truly labyrinthine prose, which James employs with great effect for the purpose of dissimulation Folks would later dub it unreliable narration You can trust James to phrase the most simplest of ideas and situations in the most imaginative of ways without making a fool of you but if you still insist on clarity, go ahead and tell us whether the governess really did see the ghost or was it all a figment of her overexcited imagination In any case, this is one of the finest examples of a story where the style of writing itself suggests ideas to the reader without stating anything in concrete terms I re read it in one sitting, with racing heart and damp underarms, and, probably my blood pressure also shot up, if only metaphorically No, it wasn t the horror Horror films don t scare me, let alone the writing It was, I realised early on, the pressure of the prose bearing down on my soul, its gravity many times greater than that of the earth, until I could not tear myself away till I had finished the job, panting like when you re planted on the belt of a treadmill inclined upwards, you are making the effort without going anywhere and can t rest your legs until the segment has run its course and your muscles are fully exercised.This novella is like a literary treadmill.June 16.

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