Frightening Fall Friday: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James


Check out all the info on what I am reading for Frightening Fall here!


Well, this wasn’t what I expected.

The Turn of the Screw was actually the short story that I was most excited for. When I was looking up possible reads for Frightening Fall, this was one of the more popular suggestions. Now I am kind of scratching my head. Did I miss something?

The Turn of the Screw is about a woman who agrees to become a governess to two little kids out in the country. Their parents died and they are in the care of their jerk uncle, who pretty much offers her the job under the pretenses that he doesn’t much care how the kids are, just as long as he doesn’t have to see or hear anything about them. Ever.

For some reason, she doesn’t see this as a glaringly red flag. She accepts the job and goes off to the country to begin her new job. Upon arriving only the little girl, Flora, is there along with some of the staff. Miles, the little boy, is still at school and will be there in a couple weeks.

A few days on the job, and she receives correspondence from Miles’ school (forwarded on from aforementioned jerk uncle, unopened)  pretty much saying he is expelled from school and can’t return after the holidays. After meeting Miles and deciding he couldn’t hurt a fly, she is curious as to what warranted his expulsion at all.

Then, she starts seeing ghosts. However in the story they tend to call them ‘horrors’, which I actually quite like. Anyway, these ‘horrors’ turn out to be people who are associated with the children and the property. Hi-jinks ensue!

Actually, no. Hi-jinks should have ensued. It would have been brilliant. Instead, she spends her time waiting around for these things to appear, and secretly accusing the children of being in on it. She spends the whole time whining about how the children never tell her that they can see them, and don’t admit to knowing that they are there. Well, lady, maybe if you freaking asked the children they would tell you. Alas, she never really does until the end, and then what happens? I am sure you can guess.

Plus- did I mention Henry James threw some child molestation into the mix. Yeah, that happened. And in the end, the story just ends. You don’t find anything out. No questions are answered.


Uggghhhhh. I hate stories like that. I know, I know. It leaves it open for interpretation. It is set up to be a ghost story being told at a party (which by the way was the best part of the whole thing). But come on.

I honestly wouldn’t recommend this one at all. Unless, of course, someone can enlighten me as to what I may have missed. Then by all means, I am open to changing my mind!


Fortunately, Henry James can turn a pretty phrase. Check out my favorite quotes from the story here!


6 thoughts on “Frightening Fall Friday: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

  1. Pingback: Introducing a New Feature: Frightening Fall! | thebookboozer

  2. Pingback: Sick and Tired! | thebookboozer

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