Reliability and Its Present in the Adaptation of The Turn of the Screw

From the transition from text to film, the text can be distorted and altered to a point to affect the plat and the characters negatively or positively. In the adaptation of The Turn of the Screw, the Innocents correlates well with the text but there are subtle differences in particular instances. In the text, the reader is left to believe whether the protagonist is reliable emotionally as stable character. Opposed to the text, the film gives concrete evidence of the physical presence of the super-natural that makes the protagonist a more reliable character.

During the first few day at the residence, Hester senses the presence of ghosts. This leaves the reader to speculate whether there really are ghost in the house. Unfortunately, along with that idea, the reader has to question if they are a figment of Hester’s imagination. Hester sees masculine figure at the top of building. This is the first time in the film that she actually is able to materialize the concept of a poltergeist.

Once she reaches the top of the building the figment is gone. This suggests Hester is actually just imagining these ideas which again leave the audience to believe Hester is unreliable as a stable character.

Later during a friendly game with the children, Hester sees a female ghost walk across the hall. She cannot identify the strange sighting. Hester has merely only seen these figures; so without concrete evidence, the reader has to choose either the reality that there is in fact poltergeists, or the reality that Hester is an incredibly unreliable protagonist.

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In order to persuade a subject or an idea, concrete evidence would thoroughly help an audience believe that topic of debate. In Hester’s case, she actually does find evidence of the existence of poltergeist. At, Hester finds the picture of Peter Quint during the game. Afterwards, Peter Quint approaches Hester when she hides behind a curtain; she clearly identifies him as the man in the framed picture. Another distorted incident from text to film is when Flora and the governess are sitting outside and they both see the previous governess. In the text, Flora never actually sees her. Later, once Hester plans to leave the residence, Hester sees a women crying at a desk. The mysterious lady disappears but leaves the remanence of tears that Hester finds and physically touches.

At this point in the film, the audience now has plausible evidence that the ghosts actually do exist. Therefore, Hester is viewed as an emotionally reliable protagonist. Relying on a character from an emotional standpoint gives a greater purpose to the text or film in terms of what actually is happening and how the audience interprets scene or passage. Creating a character that fictionalizes things and sees things that actually are not there creates an unreliable character that can be utilized in different ways. It is not necessarily a bad idea to incorporate an unreliable character as there are multiple reasons and ambiguities that can be added heighten a climax of a plot. Identifying that Hester is in fact a reliable character through her visions and discoveries of evidence, one can view the differences in the text that were made in the film. Unlike the text, the film gives physical evidence the ghosts are present which makes the protagonist a more reliable character.

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Reliability and Its Present in the Adaptation of The Turn of the Screw. (2022, Jun 30). Retrieved from

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