The Turn of the Screw


Henry James

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The Turn of the Screw: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

The governess describes her decision to begin pursuing her position as the children’s caretaker more seriously, almost as a kind of call-to-arms. With Mrs. Grose as her confidante, she resolves to protect the children from what her encounters with Quint led her to believe was a threatening environment.
The governess expresses in this instance her firm belief that the children are innocent and require her protection, but neither of these opinions—that they are innocent, that they need her—seem grounded in anything but her own fears.
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The narrative returns to the governess’s conversation with Mrs. Grose about her encounters with Quint. At the end of the conversation, the governess mentions that she believes Quint had been looking for Miles. Hearing this, Mrs. Grose mentions that Quint had been “too free” with everyone at Bly, including the boy, and that she had been afraid of what Quint—whom she calls a “clever” and “deep” man—was capable of doing.
The governess’s conversation with Mrs. Grose enforces her suspicion that the children are in danger at Bly. Mrs. Grose’s ambiguous phrasing of Quint’s behavior heightens the tension of this moment, and the governess’s anxiety is heightened by what she considers to be Mrs. Grose’s secrecy.
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A later scene is described in which the governess and Flora venture together outside. While watching Flora play beside a lake, the governess spots another visitor staring at the two of them. The governess looks to Flora, to see if she notices the visitor, but she does not seem to see what the governess has seen.
This is the first time the governess witnesses one of these “visitors”—this time someone new—while in the company of another person. The visitor is in Flora’s line of sight, but she seems not to notice, which calls into question the reality of this new presence.
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