Suspense in The Turn of the Screw 1 . Keep the stakes high: Throughout the novel, the governess is shown to be somewhat “in love” with her employer. She describes him as “a gentleman… in the prime of life, such a figure had never risen, save in a dream or an old novel, before a fluttered, anxious girl” and goes on to say “he struck her, in evitably, as gallant and splendid” (4). In her perspective, she lives to please her employer by carrying out her duties successfully.
Yet the ghosts pose a “crisis that’s devastating to the rotagonist’s world,” and she is willing to do anything to prevent the corruption of the children from the ghosts.
This mindset creates suspense and allows the readers to empathize with the governess to some point. 2. Apply pressure: As the antagonists of the novel are the ghosts that corrupt the children, the protagonist, the governess, can only be against insurmountable odds; she is fighting against supernatural beings.
Yet, another element that adds to the pressure is the fact that she has nowhere to escape. Mrs. Grose points out that the master “didn’t like tale-bearing?”he hated omplaints. He was terribly short with anything of that kind” (35).
This installs in the protagonist a resolution to never let this ghost troubles be known to her employer, as she admires him and wants to please him in all ways; now she has to deal with the ghosts by herself. This creates suspense in that the screw has been turned even more; she has no escape.
3. Create dilemmas. Suspense loves a dilemma: The most prominent dilemmas that first appear in the novel consist of the governess’ struggle with the children’s telling the truth about the ghosts Peter Quint and Miss Jessel.
For example, when the governess sees “that Flora’s little bed was empty,” she catches her “breath with all the terror that, five minutes before, [she] had been able to resist” (55). She continuously believes that Flora and Miles are seeing the ghost but are lying to her. This creates a huge dilemma, as the governess’ faith towards the children is extinguished and the corruption of the children comes more near. This dilemma creates suspense and doubt at the same time, allowing the readers to ponder about the existence of the ghosts. 4.
Complicate matters: The novel poses arious complications to the governess; starting with Miles’ letter of dismissal, the fact that the ghosts are of her predecessor and her lover, and mostly due to the fact that there are two “turning of the screw,” two children who are corrupted by the ghosts, heightens the complexity of matters to the governess. Everything “crashes to the ground” at the end of the novel, as Miles’ “little heart, dispossessed, had stopped” (117). 5. Create a really good villain: The “villains” of this novel are the ghost of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, the governess’ predecessor.
These villains, despite eing apparitions or ghosts, are highly Msible”. The governess describes Peter Quint’s ghost vividly; “He has red hair, very red, close-curling, and a pale face, long in shape, with straight… rather queer whiskers that are as red as his hair” (30). They seem to be rather clever and strongly motivated, and are powerful in the way that they have the ability to corrupt the children and destroy the governess’ new life. By creating fear in both the readers and the governess, these villains successfully create suspense throughout the novel. *Page numbers are fit to my book, which has a