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The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw is a short novel published in 1898. This mystery story is an engaging classic, that’s why we leave here The Turn of the Screw in PDF format, so you can enjoy it.

Henry James is considered one of the forerunners of Anglo-Saxon modernism that dominated the literary scene between 1900 and 1940.

The point of view narrative technique leads the reader through a nightmarish story, starring a governess whose name is never known.

It is classified as a horror novel due to the appearance of ghosts and all the suspense that surrounds the atmosphere. In this work, the tension does not leave the reader at any time.

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The Turn of the Screw in PDF format

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Summary of The Turn of the Screw

On Christmas Eve, a group of friends gathers in a mansion in front of the fireplace to tell horror stories.

Douglas, one of those present, shows that he has a chilling anecdote to tell. However, he cannot do it at that moment, since he has it in writing stored in a drawer in his house.

Expectations began to grow, so the questions to Douglas were immediate.

He tells them that he will give orders to his servant to send the document to the mansion and that they only had to know that it was a story as terrifying and chilling as any other.

Two days later, the text arrives. Douglas explains that it was written by a governess he met one summer at his house since this young woman was in charge of his sister’s education.

Thus begins to read this story written in the handwriting of the girl in question.

She goes to work in a Victorian mansion to be in charge of the education of two orphaned children, whose custody was held by their uncle.

The governess had been warned by the children’s legal guardian that he did not want to be bothered with any matter and that she should resolve everything as best she could.

Not long after moving into the house, the young woman begins to realize that not that long ago wrong things had happened in that house.

She sensed that the children had been abused in some way by the previous governess and the uncle’s personal servant, both of whom had passed away.

These suspicions were confirmed by the housekeeper, an apparently naive and kind-hearted woman.

The children looked to the governess like two angels, well-mannered and irreproachable in their conduct.

But, little by little, she realized that it was only a kind of facade since she saw visions of the ghosts of the previous employees, which seemed to exert an evil influence on them.

As the weeks go by, the tension grows, and the ghostly apparitions come and go, convincing the governess more and more that something very serious had been done to them and was still being done to the children.

Faced with such a situation, untenable for her, she had to make radical decisions on her own, since the master did not authorize being consulted. This worried the housekeeper, who was of the opinion that the gentleman should intervene.

The outcome of the story gives a masterful twist to the plot. The ending is ambiguous, controversial, and open, making it easy for the reader to draw their own conclusions from it.

FAQ about The Turn of the Screw

What does it mean to turn the screw?

The turn of the screw is an expression used to refer to an unexpected turn of events in a story.

This setback is shocking, the reader does not see it coming and therefore leaves them bewildered. It is an effective literary resource for horror, mystery, or detective stories.

What is the name of the governess of The Turn of the Screw?

The name of the governess narrating the story is never revealed in the novel. It is a mystery that remains until the end, perhaps because it is not relevant or because it is intended to increase the narrative tension.

The previous governess was named Jessel, who reportedly had an immoral relationship with the servant of the children’s uncle and died in unclear circumstances.

What was the governess like?

The governess is a young woman, in her twenties, the daughter of a clergyman. Although it is not said openly, impeccable, incorruptible behavior and high moral values are always expected of her.

That assumption makes her become a reliable narrator voice, however, at the end of the novel you are not so sure about the reliability of her vision of the facts, nor of her impeccable conduct.

How many narrators are there in the book The Turn of the Screw?

In the novel The Turn of the Screw there are two narrators. In the beginning, it is one of those present in the mansion who recounts the events. Later, the rest of the novel is narrated by the new governess, who tells us everything that happens in the Bly mansion.