The Turn of the Screw

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Windows Symbol Icon
Windows in The Turn of the Screw are in two instances the invisible boundary separating the governess from the ghost of Peter Quint. It is no coincidence that these encounters happen at windows. The story is, at least in part, about boundaries that—like windows—at once divide and connect people to each other. This is especially true of the governess’s relationship with the children. The governess often discusses her feeling that the children deliberately withhold their inner feelings and personal histories from her, so their reticence prevents her ability to access the children. But she clearly believes that her encounters with the ghosts of Quint and Miss Jessel, and the awareness she develops of the children’s relationship with the two, give her what she considers to be privileged access to the children’s histories and feelings. Nobody else ever confesses to seeing the ghosts, and the conclusions the governess draws about the children’s relationships with them remain unverified, so these encounters with the ghosts function like windows, or like boundaries that at once connect the governess to, and divide the governess from, the children.
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Windows Symbol Timeline in The Turn of the Screw

The timeline below shows where the symbol Windows appears in The Turn of the Screw. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...While in the room where she went to retrieve her gloves, she sees through the window the man, staring “deep and hard” into her eyes. She runs outside to see if... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...when she rushes to her bed to search for her, Flora emerges from behind the window’s blind. The governess, now upset, asks why she had hidden there. Flora replies that she... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...had been blown out. She notices that Flora left her bed to look out the window again, and she assumes the girl blew out the light. The governess says she now... (full context)
Chapter 23
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...had once seen Quint, the governess sits on the couch, and Miles stares out the window. The governess has a revelation: she claims that Miles is looking longingly out the window... (full context)
Chapter 24
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...the letter she’d meant to have sent to his uncle, she notices through the room’s window the face of Quint, staring threateningly into the room. The governess reacts to this with... (full context)