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.