The Turn of the Screw


Henry James

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The Turn of the Screw: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Having seen the governess standing outside the house, Mrs. Grose goes outside and asks the governess what had left her so shaken. The governess confides in Mrs. Grose, telling her about her most recent encounter with this strange man, and about the encounter when she saw him up in the tower.
This is the first of many encounters between Mrs. Grose and the governess in which the two seem to develop together a sense of trust and confidence.
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The governess describes the man to Mrs. Grose. She tells her that he was not wearing a hat, had red hair and sharp eyes, and that his handsomeness suggested that he was a gentleman. Mrs. Grose concludes that the man she described was Peter Quint, who was once the valet for the children’s uncle, who had stayed behind after the uncle left and was put in charge of the house. Mrs. Grose then adds that Peter Quint had died.
The governess’s description of the man and her conclusion that he was a gentleman—something she bases only on his handsome appearance—is an instance of appearances indicating a person’s status and character. Mrs. Grose’s proclamation that the governess has seen a dead man introduces explicitly the supernatural into the story.
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