There's No Such Thing as Ghost Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1149 Words
Date:  2022-06-27

The ending of the novella, Turn of the Screw, left a lot of cliffhangers to its readers. These cliffhangers make some of its readers to question the reliability of the governess' recollection in Bly. After a clear understanding and a close examination of the story, questions on whether the governess saw the children working with the ghost arise. As a result, there is an explanation on why the belief in spirits is unreal, and an argument which reveals that the governess hallucinates when she claims she sees ghosts.

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The governess is seeing someone the first time she sees an apparition of a man in the tower. She has not hallucinated yet. She is either seeing a villager, a gardener, or a cleaning man whom she has not seen yet. She has not been in Bly for long, and she, therefore, doesn't know everyone who works there. When the governess tells Mrs. Grose about it, she concludes that is Peter Quint from the description she provided gave Mrs. Grose the picture of Peter Quint. Mrs. Grose character seems to indicate that she is a believer in conspiracy theories as she would believe the governess even if she doesn't see the ghosts. Since then, the governess gets hallucinations, thus recognizing the same image of Peter Quint as the ghost.

Now that the governess believes in the ghost of Peter Quint, her mind creates the story that Peter Quint is trying to get into the children. This leads her to create a female threat to the female child Flora as well. Additionally, she is worried about her job performance. She becomes more confused and gets into a dilemma since she has an employer whom she is not allowed to contact, and she is the one in charge. She is thinking a lot about her situation which led her to believe the former governess. She then started hallucinating about Ms. Jessel too. When she describes the woman she saw in the garden, she does not explain it in detail. She goes to Mrs. Grose and says, "There is a beautiful woman in a black dress" (Cranfill, Mabry, & Clark, 5). Mrs. Grose, being illiterate, believes in conspiracy theories and the existence of ghosts. She, therefore, jumps into conclusion that it is Ms. Jessel that the governess saw. The governess then starts hallucinating more based on the description which Mrs. Grose provides.

It is clear that Miles is trying to win the governess' attention since he wants her to know about his strolls in the garden one night. He wanted to show her that he is also capable of doing something that could draw her attention which is typical for children. One day, Miles was playing piano for the governess, and at the same time, Flora goes out to stroll in the lakeside. As stated, Flora only walks to the boat, gets in and goes into the Lake. However, the governess interprets this as a sinister. When Mrs. Grose and the governess finally saw Flora down the lake, the governess forces Flora to admit the presence of Miss Jessel with them. Interestingly, Ms. Grose does not see the ghost of Ms. Jessel as proclaimed by the governess. However, she still believes that the governess saw ghosts. Flora breaks down into tears when the governess forces her to admit to having seen Ms. Jessel (Cranfill, Mabry, & Clark, 7). As a result, she doesn't want to see the governess anymore because the governess is putting too much pressure on her, which causes her stress and eventually makes her sick.

As the story comes to an end, the governess confronts Miles about everything, and with all this happening, the governess sees Peter Quint's ghost. Miles asks, "Is she here?" while he should have asked, "Is he here?". This leads the governess into think that Miles possesses Peter Quint's ghost (Cranfill, Mabry, & Clark, 5). It is bizarre for Miles to say this because Peter Quint's ghost supposedly haunts him. This is best explained that Flora talks to Miles before she goes away for treatment. Flora could have told Miles that the governess believes she sees the ghost of Ms. Jessel. After Miles says that to the governess, the governess states, "No, it's him, it's him, it's him. Say his name!" which indicates that she still sees the ghost. Miles, as a smart child, connects things that the governess might be seeing the male servant who dies instead of the female servant at that moment. Then the boy says, "Peter Quint! -You devil!" (Cranfill, Mabry, & Clark, 5). After Mrs. Grose describes who Peter Quint is to everybody, they all have the picture of him, like the devil. Peter Quint has probably abused the little boy Miles. Subsequently, the governess comforts Miles, but Miles dies in the process. It is either she accidentally smothered him to death, or he also gets sick from panic the same way Flora suffered. The symptoms have not shown up yet for Miles because he tries his best to appeal to the governess all this time. When the governess saw Peter Quint's ghost while she was with Miles, she goes crazy, and this causes more stress to the young boy (Cranfill, Mabry, & Clark, 5). The author did not clarify Miles' immediate cause of death. This scenario might still be part of the governess' hallucination. If Miles has; as a result, the governess would not have gotten another governess job. However, in the introduction, it states that she gets another governess job as Douglas tells.


The Cambridge dictionary defines the phrase "Turn of the Screw" as an action that makes a dangerous situation worse, especially one that forces someone to do something. The governess puts too much pressure on the people at her workplace leading them to sickness. Flora got sick after a confrontation with the governess. Miles death during a battle with the governess is part of her hallucinations. This shows that the people are uncomfortable with the conversations of ghosts which the governess introduces. She would have tried to solve her mental problems with elder people, instead of confronting children who may have already developed a fear of the ghost stories. The confrontations only result in more tension. Mrs. Grose also plays a part in spreading the ghost stories instead of helping the governess cope with her condition. The governess's mental state is a turn in the screw for the two children and Mrs. Grose. Gathering all the examples provided, it is easy to expect that the seeing of the ghosts, the children in partnership with the demons and Miles death are all just a hallucination of the governess.

Works Cited

Cranfill, Thomas Mabry, and Robert Lanier Clark Jr. An anatomy of The Turn of the Screw. University of Texas Press, 2014.

Nyce, James M., Sanna Talja, and Sidney Dekker. "When Ghosts Can Talk: Informant Reality and Ethnographic Policy." Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics 9.1 (2015): 81-97.

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There's No Such Thing as Ghost Essay. (2022, Jun 27). Retrieved from

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