on the book turn of the screw by henry james

Historically, debates about the meaning of The Turn of the Screw have been preoccupied with the credibility of the governess who narrates the novel: Is the governess right, and Miles and Flora are under the dangerous influence of the ghosts of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel? Or is she, as some readers believe, an unstable young woman whose tales should not be taken seriously?

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In a four page argumentative paper, take a position with respect to the debate concerning the governess. State your position clearly at the beginning of the paper and consider the evidence, using quotes and examples from the text of the novel to support your case. Additionally, in the course of your paper, acknowledge and respond to at least one piece of counter-evidence that seems to prove the opposite point to the one that you are asserting: carefully situate this counter-evidence with respect to your own position, explaining why it is not valid or persuasive.


Special consideration will be given to those papers that integrate material from the class presentations to provide a more nuanced view concerning the issue of the governess’ reliability.


Your paper should be set in twelve-point Times New Roman type, with standard margins. Other information about format can be found on the syllabus. As always, proofread your work carefully.


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