The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James

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In The Turn of the Screw, Miles dies at the end, presumably from fright. Research the known causes of heart failure in young children and discuss whether or not you think that it was realistic to have Miles die in this way. Use examples from the novel and your research to support your claims.

The governess in the story believes that the ghosts, although they look like humans, are sinister beings who are trying to steal the children's souls. Research the views regarding ghosts during the nineteenth century in both life and literature and discuss how the governess's beliefs either adhere to or deviate from depictions in other nineteenth-century ghost stories.

The governess is drawn to her employer, a gentleman who has a higher rank than she, and she makes much of the illicit affair between the previous governess, Miss Jessel, and Peter Quint, a man of much lower class. Research the various class titles that existed in England in the mid-1800s, from royalty to the peasantry. Using your research, organize the titles in hierarchical order on a chart, giving a one-paragraph description of each title.

In the story, the governess assumes that the ghosts of Miss Jessel and Peter Quint are evil, and hers is the only point of view given. Put yourself in either Jessel's or Quint's place, and give a short plot summary that narrates the events from the ghost's point of view. You may choose to make your ghost evil, good, sympathetic, or any other type, provided you are able to use the story's events to back up your assertions.

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