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Are The Ghosts Real?


Persephone
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One thing about the novel I've only seen brought up once or twice is the legitimacy of the ghosts that the governess talks about. At this point, I feel that the ghosts are just part of the governess's imagination, or maybe even some kind of psychological problem. That being said, if the governess had never met or been told about Ms. Jessel or Quint, how was she able to describe them in detail? Honestly I am stumped...


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Nicole
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Okay, I had thought about this as well. I was thinking maybe there was a picture of them somewhere for some reason and she saw them without realizing, then she made them the ghosts she saw. Or maybe she had heard about them before but forgot, or, again, did so without realizing, and that's how she could describe them. The only other thing I could think of is maybe she didn't actually see them as Quint and Ms. Jessel, but she just saw some ghosts, started describing them, and her description was coincidentally was close enough to make Mrs. Grose think it was them. These were my thoughts while reading, I would be really interested to hear if anyone else has any theories though!


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TheBoulder
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I just went back and reread that part to see if I could figure anything out, but I couldn't. Her description wasn't super specific but it was detailed enough that the ghost couldn't just have been anyone. I cannot find a reason of how she would know before what Quint looked like. This stumps me as well.


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SnowyYeti
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@theboulder  I am pretty sure that Miles and Quint got along for the time that Quint was Bly so maybe he had talked to the governess about him and that planted the idea in the Governess's head that this man could still be "there" at the house.  This part of the book stumped me as well.  No one other than the Governess ever confirms seeing the ghosts, yet no one denies their presence.  Thinking about this ties my brain into a knot arghhh


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Jackson Von Habsburg
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Like I've said in many other posts about the turn of the screw there are both psychological and spiritual elements to the story. I think that the ghost is real they are the spiritual representation of the evils which were faced by the characters. Miles is the key example of this. where quint is processing him through the trauma which he was faced by quint but he is physically a demon which is inside of him. I think the bad mental state of the characters causes the more supernatural issues which they face 


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xwing37
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@snowyyeti, I personally think that the ghosts were in the governess's head. I think this because the entire book was written from her perspective. So we never clearly see how the children feel about the so called ghosts. Like you said Miles and Quint were very close so maybe him saying that combined with the governess's paranoia led to her believing that he was speaking to the ghosts. It just seems really suspicious to me that the book was written from her perspective and no one else seemed very bothered from the ghosts.


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Madams43
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The governess continually has encounters with ghosts that only seem to appear to her. As Miles' behavior in school worsens so that he is expelled from the academy, and as Flora becomes sick, the governess blames the ghosts for corrupting the children and labels them as evil and manipulative forces in their lives. But why is it that these ghosts only seem to appear to the governess even when the children are present at the time of the sightings by the governess?

I believe that the ghosts are not real but are merely the evidence of the fragmenting sanity of the governess.

 


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Madams43
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The constant obsession the governess has over maintaining the protection and innocence of the children gets so intense that it causes Flora to come down with a serious fever and Miles grows weaker without his sister there with him. it is not the ghosts, as the governess claims, that are corrupting the children, but the governess herself, through her continually worsening hysteria that is corrupting the children. Both Peter Quint and Miss Jessel are not real ghosts that appear only before the governess but they are merely the signs of the mental state of the governess.


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