The Turn of the Screw

Flora Character Analysis

The eight year-old girl for whom the governess is responsible, Flora is a beautiful and pleasant young girl. At first, the governess speaks highly of Flora’s charmingly childish grace and innocence. Eventually, though, the governess begins to suspect that Flora meets secretly with Miss Jessel, and she thinks that Flora’s outward displays of innocence and beauty intentionally conceal a dark inner life.

Flora Quotes in The Turn of the Screw

The The Turn of the Screw quotes below are all either spoken by Flora or refer to Flora. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Supernatural Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Signet Classics edition of The Turn of the Screw published in 2007.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The little girl who accompanied Mrs. Grose appeared to me on the spot a creature so charming as to make it a great fortune to have to do with her. She was the most beautiful child I had ever seen…

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose, Flora
Page Number: 291
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

"The children?"
"I can't leave them now."
"You're afraid—?"
I spoke boldly. "I'm afraid of HIM."
Mrs. Grose's large face showed me, at this, for the first time, the faraway faint glimmer of a consciousness more acute: I somehow made out in it the delayed dawn of an idea I myself had not given her and that was as yet quite obscure to me.

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose (speaker), Miles, Flora, Peter Quint
Page Number: 311
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

Suddenly, in these circumstances, I became aware that, on the other side of the Sea of Azof, we had an interested spectator…My heart had stood still for an instant with the wonder and terror of the question whether she too would see; and I held my breath while I waited for what a cry from her, what some sudden innocent sign either of interest or of alarm, would tell me. I waited, but nothing came…

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Flora, Miss Jessel
Page Number: 320
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

"They know—it's too monstrous: they know, they know!"
"And what on earth—?" I felt her incredulity as she held me.
"Why, all that we know—and heaven knows what else besides!" Then, as she released me, I made it out to her, made it out perhaps only now with full coherency even to myself. "Two hours ago, in the garden"—I could scarce articulate—"Flora saw!"
Mrs. Grose took it as she might have taken a blow in the stomach. "She has told you?" she panted.
"Not a word—that's the horror. She kept it to herself!”

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose (speaker), Miles, Flora
Page Number: 320-321
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes

To gaze into the depths of blue of the child's eyes and pronounce their loveliness a trick of premature cunning was to be guilty of a cynicism in preference to which I naturally preferred to abjure my judgment and, so far as might be, my agitation. I couldn't abjure for merely wanting to, but I could repeat to Mrs. Grose—as I did there, over and over, in the small hours—that with their voices in the air, their pressure on one's heart, and their fragrant faces against one's cheek, everything fell to the ground but their incapacity and their beauty.

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose, Miles, Flora
Page Number: 326
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

You were looking for me out of the window?" I said. "You thought I might be walking in the grounds?"
"Well, you know, I thought someone was"—she never blanched as she smiled out that at me.
Oh, how I looked at her now! "And did you see anyone?"
"Ah, NO!" she returned, almost with the full privilege of childish inconsequence, resentfully, though with a long sweetness in her little drawl of the negative.
At that moment, in the state of my nerves, I absolutely believed she lied…

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Flora (speaker)
Related Symbols: Windows
Page Number: 336
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

"Why, of the very things that have delighted, fascinated, and yet, at bottom, as I now so strangely see, mystified and troubled me. Their more than earthly beauty, their absolutely unnatural goodness. It's a game," I went on; "it's a policy and a fraud!"
"On the part of little darlings—?"
"As yet mere lovely babies? Yes, mad as that seems!" The very act of bringing it out really helped me to trace it—follow it all up and piece it all together. "They haven't been good—they've only been absent. It has been easy to live with them, because they're simply leading a life of their own. They're not mine—they're not ours. They're his and they're hers!"
"Quint's and that woman's?"
"Quint's and that woman's. They want to get to them."

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose (speaker), Miles, Flora, Peter Quint, Miss Jessel
Page Number: 344
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes

What it was most impossible to get rid of was the cruel idea that, whatever I had seen, Miles and Flora saw more—things terrible and unguessable and that sprang from dreadful passages of intercourse in the past. Such things naturally left on the surface, for the time, a chill which we vociferously denied that we felt…

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Miles, Flora
Page Number: 350
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

“She's with her?"
"She's with her!" I declared. "We must find them."
My hand was on my friend's arm, but she failed for the moment, confronted with such an account of the matter, to respond to my pressure. She communed, on the contrary, on the spot, with her uneasiness. "And where's Master Miles?"
"Oh, he’s with Quint. They're in the schoolroom."
"Lord, miss!" My view, I was myself aware—and therefore I suppose my tone—had never yet reached so calm an assurance.
"The trick's played," I went on; "they’ve successfully worked their plan. He found the most divine little way to keep me quiet while she went off."
"'Divine'?" Mrs. Grose bewilderedly echoed.

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose (speaker), Miles, Flora, Peter Quint, Miss Jessel
Page Number: 368
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 20 Quotes

Miss Jessel stood before us on the opposite bank exactly as she had stood the other time, and I remember, strangely, as the first feeling now produced in me, my thrill of joy at having brought on a proof. She was there, and I was justified; she was there, and I was neither cruel nor mad. She was there for poor scared Mrs. Grose, but she was there most for Flora…

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose, Flora, Miss Jessel
Page Number: 373
Explanation and Analysis:

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"I don't know what you mean. I see nobody. I see nothing. I never have. I think you're cruel. I don't like you!" Then, after this deliverance, which might have been that of a vulgarly pert little girl in the street, she hugged Mrs. Grose more closely and buried in her skirts the dreadful little face. In this position she produced an almost furious wail. "Take me away, take me away—oh, take me away from her!"

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Flora (speaker), Mrs. Grose
Page Number: 375
Explanation and Analysis:

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Flora Character Timeline in The Turn of the Screw

The timeline below shows where the character Flora appears in The Turn of the Screw. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...his younger brother, their father. Facing difficulty taking care of the children (named Miles and Flora), this wealthy uncle sent them to his country home, an estate called Bly, where they... (full context)
Chapter 1
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
...the governess herself rode in on. The governess says she would like to go, with Flora, to the carriage’s pick-up point, so that she may welcome Miles and introduce herself to... (full context)
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The Governess spends her second day at Bly getting to know Flora. They play outside for some time and eventually the governess asks Flora to take her... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Supernatural Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...visitors but are not telling her about their encounters with them. She is convinced that Flora saw the ghost by the lake, but that for some reason she stayed quiet about... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...she still considers herself the sole protector of these children. The governess eventually meets with Flora again, and Flora’s tenderness causes her to feel guilty at having suspected her of any... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...third encounter with Quint. One night, while reading in her room—a room she shares with Flora—she perceives in the hallway outside something “undefinably astir” in the house. She sees the curtain... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Suspicious of Flora now, the governess stays up at night trying to catch the girl sneaking out of... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...when she realizes a light she left burning had been blown out. She notices that Flora left her bed to look out the window again, and she assumes the girl blew... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...were going through her head in the months following her realization that the Miles and Flora were conspiring against her. She believes the children know that she had seen Quint and... (full context)
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
Miles and Flora eventually mention to the governess their concern that they had not heard from their uncle... (full context)
Chapter 14
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...governess tells Miles that few people seem to be of his own sort, except perhaps Flora, which greatly offends Miles. Miles then asks whether or not his uncle is aware that... (full context)
Chapter 15
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...shook up by her interaction with Miles, the governess returns to Bly, leaving Mrs. Grose, Flora, and Miles behind at the church. Upon entering the home, the governess notices a stranger... (full context)
Chapter 16
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Flora, Mrs. Grose, and Miles return home from church, and the governess is surprised to see... (full context)
Chapter 18
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...is so immersed in the music he’s making that, she realizes, she loses track of Flora. The governess asks Miles if he knows where Flora has gone, and he politely says... (full context)
Storytelling Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The governess, panicked, runs to find Mrs. Grose, who also does not know where Flora has gone off to. The governess says that Flora must be out with Miss Jessel,... (full context)
Chapter 19
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
When they arrive at the spot, Flora is nowhere to be found. The governess then notices that the boat that is usually... (full context)
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
The two then go around the lake to see if they can find Flora. When they get to the other side of the lake, they see the boat, exactly... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Still standing by the lake after having found Flora, the governess sees Miss Jessel staring at them from the opposite bank. The governess grasps... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
...and that she thinks the governess has never seen anything at all, because—as she and Flora know—Miss Jessel is dead. Mrs. Grose calls the whole thing a “mistake and a worry... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The governess finds Flora’s behavior appalling. She accuses Flora of being under Miss Jessel’s influence, and she says that... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
Back at Bly, the governess heads to her room and notices that Flora’s belongings have all been removed from the room they had shared. Later that evening, she... (full context)
Chapter 21
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...the day by the lake. Mrs. Grose enters the governess’s room early to speak about Flora’s condition. Flora, she says, has fallen ill, and she seems to Mrs. Grose to have... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...then says that she will not leave Bly, and she insists that Mrs. Grose take Flora to her uncle. She says that Flora needs to be away from Quint and Miss... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Mrs. Grose returns to the subject of Flora. She says that even though she hasn’t seen Miss Jessel herself, she nonetheless senses Miss... (full context)
Chapter 22
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
With Mrs. Grose and Flora now gone from Bly, the governess prepares herself for her time alone with Miles. She... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
Miles does not bring up the ghosts, but only asks if Flora has fallen ill. The governess says that Bly disagreed with Flora, and after she says... (full context)