The Turn of the Screw

Mrs. Grose Character Analysis

The governess’s key confidante throughout the story, Mrs. Grose is a longtime servant at Bly. She has known the children for much longer than the governess, and her love for the two causes her occasionally to deny the accusations the governess makes against the children’s character and behavior. Mrs. Grose respects the governess and listens willingly to her claims to see ghosts and her concerns about Bly. Sometimes, though, Mrs. Grose seems to withhold information from the governess; she often stops short of full disclosure about such matters as the histories of the children and the estate’s past. The governess thinks of Mrs. Grose as her confidante, but she does not seem certain that an entirely honest relationship exists between them.

Mrs. Grose Quotes in The Turn of the Screw

The The Turn of the Screw quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Grose or refer to Mrs. Grose. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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 2 Quotes

"I take what you said to me at noon as a declaration that you’ve never known him to be bad."
She threw back her head; she had clearly, by this time, and very honestly, adopted an attitude. "Oh, never known him—I don't pretend that!"
I was upset again. "Then you have known him—?"
"Yes indeed, miss, thank God!"
On reflection I accepted this. "You mean that a boy who never is—?"
"Is no boy for me!"
I held her tighter. "You like them with the spirit to be naughty?" Then, keeping pace with her answer, "So do I!" I eagerly brought out. "But not to the degree to contaminate—"
"To contaminate?"—my big word left her at a loss. I explained it. "To corrupt."
She stared, taking my meaning in; but it produced in her an odd laugh. "Are you afraid he'll corrupt you?"

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose (speaker), Miles
Page Number: 297
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

It would have been impossible to carry a bad name with a greater sweetness of innocence, and by the time I had got back to Bly with him I remained merely bewildered—so far, that is, as I was not outraged—by the sense of the horrible letter locked up in my room, in a drawer. As soon as I could compass a private word with Mrs. Grose I declared to her that it was grotesque.
She promptly understood me. "You mean the cruel charge—?"
"It doesn't live an instant. My dear woman, LOOK at him!"

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose (speaker), Miles
Page Number: 299
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

"He was looking for someone else, you say—someone who was not you?"
"He was looking for little Miles." A portentous clearness now possessed me. "That’s whom he was looking for."
"But how do you know?"
"I know, I know, I know!" My exaltation grew. "And you know, my dear!"

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose (speaker), Miles, Peter Quint
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Oh, it wasn't him!" Mrs. Grose with emphasis declared. "It was Quint's own fancy. To play with him, I mean—to spoil him." She paused a moment; then she added: "Quint was much too free."
This gave me, straight from my vision of his face—such a face!—a sudden sickness of disgust. "Too free with my boy?"
"Too free with everyone!"

Related Characters: The Governess (speaker), Mrs. Grose (speaker), Miles, Peter Quint
Page Number: 315
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 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 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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Mrs. Grose Character Timeline in The Turn of the Screw

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Grose 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
...called Bly, where they lived and were taken care of by an “excellent woman” named Mrs. Grose , who was still at Bly, and a recently deceased governess (the circumstances of whose... (full context)
Chapter 1
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Mrs. Grose informs the governess that Miles will arrive in a couple days by the same carriage... (full context)
Chapter 2
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The governess confides in Mrs. Grose about the announcement of Miles’s expulsion, and she seeks from Mrs. Grose an explanation. Mrs.... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...day is the day of Miles’s arrival. Before leaving to meet Miles, the governess asks Mrs. Grose what happened to the previous governess. Mrs. Grose replies that she does not know exactly... (full context)
Chapter 4
Secrecy Theme Icon
...the strange man up in the tower, the governess returns into the home and sees Mrs. Grose in the hall. She decides not to say anything to Mrs. Grose about the event,... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...strange man. While on her way out of the home to go to church with Mrs. Grose and the children, she remembers that she left her gloves inside. While in the room... (full context)
Chapter 5
Secrecy Theme Icon
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... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
The governess describes the man to Mrs. Grose . She tells her that he was not wearing a hat, had red hair and... (full context)
Chapter 6
Secrecy Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...continues to the afternoon following this lakeside encounter with the new visitor. The governess tells Mrs. Grose that she believes the children see the visitors but are not telling her about their... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The governess describes the visitor she’d seen to Mrs. Grose . She says she was an “infamous” looking woman dressed in black, and Mrs. Grose... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The narrative continues to describe the time following the governess’s conversation with Mrs. Grose . The governess decides to continue on with her duties, to plow ahead despite her... (full context)
Storytelling Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
Later, the governess questions Mrs. Grose , hoping to draw out of her when, if ever, Mrs. Grose had thought Miles... (full context)
Chapter 9
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The governess reflects on the days following her conversation with Mrs. Grose . Her time spent with the children returned again to the calm and carefree atmosphere... (full context)
Chapter 11
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
The day after seeing Miles out on the lawn, the governess speaks privately with Mrs. Grose about what had happened. Before describing what she says to Mrs. Grose, though, the governess... (full context)
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The governess then describes what she says to Mrs. Grose about her encounter with Miles. After seeing him out on the lawn, the governess went... (full context)
Chapter 12
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
After finishing her description of her night with the children, the governess tells Mrs. Grose she believes the two children were meeting secretly with the ghosts of Quint and Miss... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Mrs. Grose immediately accepts the governess’s evaluation of the situation, and, further, suggests that they must tell... (full context)
Chapter 15
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...is so 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... (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 that... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The governess then tells Mrs. Grose about her meeting with Miss Jessel. The governess tells Mrs. Grose it is clear that... (full context)
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...against Miles, and they blame his expulsion alternatively on his uncle, Quint, Miss Jessel, and Mrs. Grose herself (for allowing the children to go on meeting with Quint and Miss Jessel). In... (full context)
Chapter 18
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
...lessons with the children—during which they had been extremely well-behaved, which the governess finds suspicious— Mrs. Grose asks the governess if she has written the letter yet. The governess says that she... (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... (full context)
Chapter 19
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The governess and Mrs. Grose leave Miles behind to go find Flora outside. The governess decides to head to the... (full context)
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
...boat, exactly as the governess had expected. After looking for a bit, they see Flora. Mrs. Grose excitedly rushes to Flora and hugs her, and during this embrace Flora gives looks at... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Supernatural Theme Icon
...the governess sees Miss Jessel staring at them from the opposite bank. The governess grasps Mrs. Grose’s arm and directs her attention to where she sees Miss Jessel standing. The governess is... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Exterior vs. Interior Theme Icon
Secrecy Theme Icon
The governess accosts Mrs. Grose , saying that she must be able to see Miss Jessel. Mrs. Grose tells the... (full context)
Chapter 21
Secrecy Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The narrative continues to the morning following the day by the lake. Mrs. Grose enters the governess’s room early to speak about Flora’s condition. Flora, she says, has fallen... (full context)
The Supernatural Theme Icon
Youth and Innocence Theme Icon
The governess 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... (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... (full context)
Secrecy Theme Icon
At the end of the chapter, Mrs. Grose says that she has a suspicion, which she had hoped to withhold, that Miles had... (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... (full context)