Mrs. Grose, playing cleverly on the governess' vis
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Mrs. Grose, playing cleverly on the governess\' visions, convinces her she is seeing
Peter Quint and Ms. Jessel in an effort to drive her mad. At least, that is according to Eric
Solomon\'s "The Return of the Screw." Mrs. Grose tries to remove the governess to get
Mrs. Grose will do anything to gain control of Flora, as she proved when she
murdered Peter Quint. He, along with Ms. Jessel, was too much of an influence on the
children. Quint died somewhat mysteriously, on a path between town and Bly. He died
from a blow on the head, supposedly from falling upon a rock in the road. The reader\'s
only impression of the death is through Mrs. Grose\'s story, though, and so, Solomon
hypothesizes, she filters the information to make it seem less extraordinary a demise.
Perhaps Mrs. Grose killed him out of jealously. The reader can infer from this point of
view that Mrs. Grose somehow also had a hand in Ms. Jessel\'s death.
Mrs. Grose then proceeds, after the murders, to twist the new governess\' visions
of ghosts into visions of Quint and Jessel. Solomon does not address the issue of whether
or not what the governess sees is actually there. His explanation is logical either way. If
the governess sees real ghosts, or if she is imagining it all, does not matter. What matters
is that Mrs. Grose tailors Quint and Jessel to the governess\' descriptions. She listens to
the descriptions and tells the governess\' she is seeing Quint and Jessel.
Mrs. Grose does not herself create the visions that the governess sees, instead, she
bends them to her purpose. The governess\' visions of ghosts are twisted by Mrs. Grose.
When the governess reports seeing a ghost, Mrs. Grose seizes the opportunity, exclaiming
that the ghost she sees must be Peter Quint. She also labels the other apparition as the
ghost of Ms. Jessel. In this way, she can give the ghosts an evil quality, imparted to them
because of the evil lives of Quint and Jessel. Making the ghosts evil forces the governess\'
Victorian mind to attempt to shield the children from the evil. Mrs. Grose knows the
governess will read too far into the children\'s actions, and with the governess\' conclusions
to confound things, she has created a lot of turmoil in the governess\' mind. Mrs. Grose
created the monster that matured in the governess\' mind.
Solomon explains Mrs. Grose\'s motive by showing that she wants control of Flora.
Since the governess is in charge, Mrs. Grose strives to remove her. The governess is the
only obstacle between her and Flora, so Mrs. Grose finds a way to eliminate her. She
decides to drive her insane, and she uses the governess\' hallucinations against her.
Having read both Solomon\'s "The Return of the Screw" and Mark Spilka\'s
"Turning the Freudian Screw," I would tend to agree with Solomon\'s interpretation of the
story. Mrs. Grose\'s actions themselves can be looked at as either deliberate or
unintentional, but coupled with James\' subtle innuendoes, her guilt is almost certain.
Since much of the information the reader learns about Bly\'s past is indirectly
through Mrs. Grose, it cannot really be trusted. The governess tells us about the house,
the grounds, the people who live there, and especially the lives and deaths of Peter Quint
and Ms. Jessel. She tells us Quint was an evil man, but her opinion could be tainted. She
thought Quint exposed the children to too much in his relationship with Ms. Jessel. She
dislikes him, and Solomon gives the reason that she was jealous of his relationship with
Ms. Jessel. I am more inclined to believe, however, that she dislikes him because in her
Victorian thinking she wants to protect the children, just as the governess does. James
himself leaves this for the reader to decide, since he gives no other clues besides the
unreliable source, Mrs. Grose. He does, however, allow the reader to realize that Mrs.
Grose murdered Quint. She must have done it because she had no other way to separate
him and the children. Her story, while meant by her to be reasonable, is allowed by James
to be somewhat suspicious. She never states anything concretely, she says that his
wounds seem to be caused
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