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Compare the ways in which children are portrayed in Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw"" and William Golding's ""The Lord of the Flies"". How convincing do you find each author's treatment of evil in relation to his characters?

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Emma Knight English coursework Wide reading coursework Compare the ways in which children are portrayed in Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw"" and William Golding's ""The Lord of the Flies"". How convincing do you find each author's treatment of evil in relation to his characters? Everyone likes to believe that childhood is a time of innocence. However, these two novels try to show that this is incorrect, that everyone contains is tainted by original sin. Incidents of violence like the James Bulger murders shock us profoundly. The two young children in James's "The Turn of the Screw" shocked the Victorians who could not believe children could be evil. William Golding's "The Lord of the Flies" presents children with a strong sense of evil and disorder. However there is a mixture of types, containing the saintly Simon and the barbaric Jack. Though these two novels are slightly different they both represent evil in a quite convincing way. These two novels are written for different purposes. William Golding's is a fable and James's is a ghost story. Golding writes a kind of fable, in which the boys are intended to be representative of humankind. Simon is there to stand for the kindness of the human heart, to listen to the others and to interpret the evil "the Beast", who is inside each and everyone of them. ...read more.


These different introductions give you an idea of the characters being which enhances the evil and wickedness later in the novels, especially in the "The Turn of the Screw". As the children in James's "The Turn of the Screw" go from being describe pure and innocence to being portrayed as almost pure evil. Each novel treats evil in it's own way, as each author deals with evil differently. In James's "The Turn of the Screw" and children are portrayed in such an idealistic light that when they are described as evil, corrupted by Quint and Miss Jessel it seems preposterous. James is deliberately vague throughout this novel. For instance we never know what offence Miles was expelled from school for. All James tells us towards the end of the novel is that "he said things", according to Miles. In chapter 6 the governess feels a "sudden sickness of disgust" when she learns from Mrs Grose that Quint was "too free" with Miles. However, we never know what this means. Could it refer to sexual abuse? As James continues to be vague it could be said that this is what gives the novel power and intensity. The ghostly apparitions provide a genuinely chilly impact. ...read more.


He can see that the "The Lord of the Flies" represents great evil and danger, the "beast". Following this Simon climbs the mountain to find the "beast" is a dead parachutist and goes to warn the others of the news there is no "beast", that the only "beast" there is, is not an external creature to be feared and appeased, but is inside each and everyone of them. This evil is an enemy of reason and order. Its results are murder, first of Simon in chapter nine, then of Piggy, and finally the boys intend to hunt and kill Ralph and put his head on a stick, as they did with the "The Lord of the Flies". Evil is also seen as involving a return to primitive and ritualistic behaviour. In both novels evil is seen as a force, which consumes and destroys. In James's the "The Turn of the Screw" Miles is destroyed at the end of the novel, though in uncertain circumstances. The governess tries to remove the evil Quint from Miles yet fails as Miles falls into her arms dead. In Golding's novel, the entire island is turned from paradise into a raging inferno, as the boys turn against one another and try to destroy Ralph. However, this time the evil, wickedness saves them as the blaze attracts a ship to take them home. ...read more.

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