• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Henry James referred to TTOTS as a potboiler. In light of this comment, explore the establishment of a simple ghost story in the prologue and first five chapters.

Extracts from this document...


Henry James referred to ?TTOTS? as a potboiler. In light of this comment, explore the establishment of a simple ghost story in the prologue and first five chapters. Henry James stated that ?TTOTS? was a potboiler, meant only to be perceived as a simple ghost story which in the Victorian era was how it was originally accepted. However a more modern audience ay interpret the novella as something more. Relating back to the idea of a simple ghost story, the novella starts with a typical ghost story setting ? ?The story had held us, round the fire? emphasised by the description of the house being ?gruesome? and it being ?Christmas Eve? informing us that it is night time. All are contributing factors to an ideal ghost story and all of these points start to build the tension and suspense up already within the first few lines. ?Held us, round the fire? tells us how they are clinging to this materialistic substance for comfort and warmth, typical connotations of fire. Use of language such as ?dreadful? and ?terror? increases this sense of a greater impending ghost story ? that of which we hear about the Governess. ...read more.


The use of characters in the prologue almost acts as a metaphor for the reader. ?Everybody will stay!? and ?I will ? and I will!? could be used to represent how James wants the reader to react to reading the actual ghost story. Straight away in the first chapter we learn about how the governess suffered ?a succession of flights and drops?. Already we start to suspect the volatility of her and the reliability of her tale which obviously argues against the idea of it being a simple ghost story and starts to lay down the foundation for the idea that there may be undercurrents of something more suspect. However her description of Bly is incredibly positive. ?A lovely day?, ?summer sweetness? and ?a friendly surprise? are all used in one sentence and all are incredibly optimistic, giving us the idea that the governess is a very positive person. However she does seem to be very hyperbolic, describing the first child, Flora, as ?one of Raphael?s holy infants?. Obviously this is taking it to extremes, which hints that this might not be the only thing that she is exaggerating throughout the novella. ...read more.


This quote backs up my previous point of the projecting this idea of meeting the master on her walks. During these first few chapters we experience a reasonable amount of religious language, ?Raphael?s holy infants?, ?divine? and ?he has red hair? these all imply ideas of how the plot is affected by the religious aspects of the Victorian era and their views on ghosts. As they did believe in ghosts and were mainly very religious, these ideas were accepted avidly and only increased any emotions felt within the Victorian reader as they progressed through the story. Overall, my personal views are that there are underlying psychological ideas in ?TTOTS? and that although it can be read as a straight ghost story, to fully appreciate the novella the reader must delve deeper and retrieve any obvious ideas that suggest more than just a typical ghost story. James uses a variety of techniques which make his characters seem a lot more emotional deeper than just a person who is afraid in a big house. However the idea of authenticity throughout does back up the point of it being a straight ghost story. I do believe that it is a mazed reader and can be open to a variety of interpretations. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Authors section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Authors essays

  1. Compare and contrast Shakespeare and Defoe's presentations of the characters of Robinson Crusoe and ...

    Defoe makes it so through Crusoe's many years' deliberation over 'the footprint in the sand'. In the past, Crusoe has feared sickness and God's judgment upon his soul, but now he spends years fearing the arrival of men into his domain.

  2. 'In "The Turn of the Screw" the supernatural is the manifestation of chaos and ...

    Again, this gives some further reasoning for their 'return from the dead.' So close was the relationship between these servants and the children that Mrs.Grose states that "Quint was much too free" with the young Miles. A close relationship between the children and their elders would certainly have given Quint

  1. The story of Sredni Vasthar is one of oppression and conflict. Set in the ...

    De Ropp as a cold hearted and vile women, who is slowly trying to systematically trying to break Conradin's child spirit through her subtle oppression: he would succumb to the mastering pressure of wearisome necessary things. She seems disappointed at the fact that selling the Houdan hen does not provoke a reaction from Conradin.

  2. Sympathy for the betrayers and the betrayed. Cresseid and Madame Bovary are dissimilar ...

    Henryson goes further when he describes Cupid as 'a boar that whets its tusks, he grinds and fumes,' since it goes beyond anthromorphism to zoomorphism; and the description of Gods that 'raged, grimaced, rampaged and bawled and scoffed' is a display of Gods that have unlimited power and limited judgement.

  1. Analysis of chapter 4 of Turn of the Screw

    She finds herself "hesitate to mention" the events to Mrs Grose. Why is this? Could she doubt her own ideas already or is she as she says trying to "spare" her companion? What is this "inward revolution" that she experiences?

  2. Analysis of Roderick Usher's character in the story "The Fall of the house of ...

    Now this also brings about questions in our minds about the mental condition of their previous generations.

  1. How is Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" typical of a Victorian novel?

    The Awakening shows through Edna Pontellier how woman?s emotions and feelings were to be suppressed and the women to not be herself and reveal her own emotions and desires until after she was married; until then she was to portray a typical socially acceptable Victorian woman, who was to be eventually picked by a man to be his wife.

  2. When Im bad, I am bad In the light of this comment, discuss ...

    Flora is also spoken very highly of by the governess. Generally there is more of a loveable connection between the two because they are female, and the daughter looks up to both of her parents as role models but to the mother most of all.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work