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What is established in the opening to the 'Turn of the Screw' by Henry James and how is it effective as a basis to a ghost story?

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Introduction

What is established in the opening to the 'Turn of the Screw' by Henry James and how is it effective as a basis to a ghost story? The Turn of the Screw is a story written in 1898 and from a governess' point of view. In the main story the governess thinks the two children she is caring for are under the evil influence of two ghosts, Miss Jessel and Peter Quint. What we would expect from an opening to a ghost story written in 1898 is to be launched straight into the plot. We would expect this because this grips the reader's attention and makes you want to read on. We would also expect the setting to be introduced because this makes you become involved in the story. We would expect the language to be complex because this is the style that was used in the eighteen hundreds. We would expect the characters to be introduced and to become real to the reader. We would expect this because the reader will not believe in the characters if they do not seem realistic. We would also expect atmosphere to be created because this prepares the reader for a ghost story and makes the reader feel part of the story. ...read more.

Middle

The main story is delayed many times; this builds up intrigue, suspense and adds to the tension. We would not expect to have tension created by the delay technique because we would expect to be dropped straight into the plot. The delay technique suggests that the story is too awful to tell instantly for example when Douglas is about to tell the story but then he says '" I can't begin. I shall have to send to town."' This creates anticipation in the reader's mind. The story is then delayed because Douglas says 'it's in a locked drawer - it has not been out for years.' This intrigues the reader because you wonder why it is locked away. This also suggests that the story must be too dreadful to let out and so it must be kept hidden and locked away. Douglas then carries on to create more tension and raise more questions by saying '" I could write to my man and enclose the key; he could send down the packet as he finds it."' This raises questions because the reader wonders what it is about this story which means Douglas' servant must not opening the packet. The story is then delayed again because Douglas says it 'required for a proper intelligence a few word of prologue'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This makes us believe that 'I' is Henry James because we know that Henry James does have a title for the story; Turn of the Screw'. In this way a connection between the author and the reader is made because we are put in the position of 'I' and Henry James could also be 'I'. I think that overall Henry James' preface is required. I think this because without no tension or atmosphere would have been created at the beginning. This is an important part of a ghost story and creates anticipation in the reader's mind and it also creates a starting point for a ghost story. The delays in the preface and the delay of the prologue itself is needed because it makes the reader want to read on and gives the reader a sense of anticipation. This is necessary because the main story is very psychological and you need to be thinking about the story all the time when you are reading it. The prologue is also needed because of the use of narrators. The use of narrators draws you into the story. This makes you feel part of the story from the start. There is also a lot of useful information which comes out in the prologue which we need to understand the main story and the characters, their actions and their relationships. ...read more.

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