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I thought I would start a topic for our ToS writings about Miles. Just as a means of laying out background information about him there seems to be many aspects, many equally as gruesome, in his life that can help us better talk about his psyche, condition, and other parts of his persona. For one, he has to mourn the death of his parents and is left with an absence of an adult figure, besides his uncle who does not even live with them and the workers of Bly. Miles was expelled from his school. He is an older brother to Flora and--- according to the governess--- they tend to keep their relationship very secretive. Miles held an unconventional relationship with Peter Quint, a man who is no where near a gentleman. Another, large piece of this book is Miles's relations and experiences with the governess herself. Miles's persona is made up of the trauma he has faced, any repression of sexuality he feels, an "odd" relationship with the governess, and much more.
I think it's important to bring up Miles in the forums. He is by far my favorite character in the book just because of how complex he is. He is obviously much younger then the governess, but it seems as if they have the same education. I feel like there's a lot of mystery with Miles and the way he acts. I like the curiosity he creates within the other characters. Like how he got expelled for example, he acts like a perfect kid so he confused the governess with how someone like him could ever get expelled from the school. It was very fun learning more and more about him throughout the book.
@xwing37 I agree with you about how mysterious Miles is. There is a lot to think about when it comes to Miles. It seemed as though you hinted at Miles being a troublemaker because he was expelled from school. I do not agree with this. In the first half of the book and maybe even a bit farther than that, it seems as though he was kicked out because he was mischievous, but after the talk today in class, it seems as though Peter Quint may have planted the idea of homosexuality and that may have been the idea that got him kicked out of school. I think this is an important point to remember when writing about Miles.
Before class today I hadn't made the connection that Miles was gay and therefore that being the reason he was expelled from his school. Athena was the one who made that conclusion and it made me think how wrong the governess's perception was of Miles at the beginning of the story. She thought of him as a huge troublemaker and would be a huge challenge to take care of.
It is crazy to think how much times have changed and how being gay was considered worthy for expulsion back then. It is very sad to see how Miles was treated due to his sexuality.
well in personal opinion I don't think miles is gay because I believe that miles can no longer have any healthy view of sexuality because of the way that I interpret his relationship with Peter Quinn as being abused both physically and psychologically to miles so I don't think it was just an odd relationship. The way that the relationship is discussed in the book always was off-putting to me and the more I read into it the more it made sense miles is dealing with a lot of psychological damage and I think that peter quint is the main source of it. miles life is just one torment after an other
@jacksonvon I see how you might interpret their relationship as being abused and hence forming your opinion on if he's gay or not. Personally I don't know where I stand on the idea of him being gay. To me it's a little confusing but I am trying to dive deeper into his character to help form my own ideas on it. Because if he is gay does this help justify all of his behavior throughout the book?
@xwing37 I completely agree, miles is definitely my favorite character in the book. I feel as if his character has the most development, as in the different sides we see of him, as the story goes on. I started with finding him really annoying and rude at times, but grew to really like his character. It would be interesting to have more from his perspective though, an insight into his mind of the arrival of the governess and what he thought of her at the beginning of their relationship.
@alechayosh07 I kind of agree with you. When you say that you wonder if being gay is the reason his behavior is the way that it is what do you mean by this? His charmingness? The way that he reacted when he saw quint in the end? I was just thrown off by this statement
I was pretty confused with Miles character throughout the book. As many have stated, his character has so many layers and is so mysterious that it is difficult to wrap my head around. I am not really sure where I stand on the interpretation that Miles is gay, but I do know that this kid has suffered severe psychological trauma. I believe he is actually a good kid that has been messed up by all of the trauma he has experienced in his life. He has no role models to guide him leaving him kind of lost and unable to find his way. I think that this accounts for much of his odd behavior especially towards the governess. He seems to try and act older which might be his way of coping with the loss of all of his role models.
@snowyyeti, while I see where you are coming from, he has gotten in trouble for other things at Bly. He stole the governess's letter and was using bad language. These things may not be that bad but I still would consider them things a troublemaker would do. So even though I believe that Miles was a troublemaker I don't really think it is his fault. I think Quint has a large role in the things that Miles does.
@alechayosh07 I agree that I do not really know whether or not Miles is gay. Someone in the sixth hour discussion brought up the idea that we may be projecting ideas of our current time period onto the book, but that doesn't mean that those social issues did not exist. I feel that's the thing though, whatever Miles said is pretty open to interpretation, it is just important for one to know that Peter Quint is most likely where Miles got his ideas from. The more I think about it though it does make sense that Miles would get kicked out for being gay, for the alternative of curse words is just basically something that little kids just pick up but do not fully understand so this would not really be a cause for expulsion. Whereas homosexuality back then...makes a lot more sense to be kicked out.
I also agree with @jacksonvon that the relationship with Peter Quint and Miles is very unsettling and definitely has left a devastating impact on Miles! At the very end of the novel, just the mention of Quint's name puts him into a total rage! Miles definitely suffered torment by Peter Quint and it was detrimental to Miles. Quint has a connection to the expulsion one way or another.
I happen to think that Miles suffers from PTSD which he himself is unaware of. The allusion to things that happened with Peter Quint on top of the fact that his parents died while he was young can be very difficult for a child to cope with. While he acts sweet and innocent the majority of the time, when the Governess forces him to acknowledge the existence of Quint, it is clear that Miles becomes incredibly angry. The trauma he was put through by Quint was brought back into his mind when he seemed to try to forget and deny it for a long time which made him have a burst of emotions that he could not know how to handle. By suppressing all of his emotions about the situation it definitely caused his outburst of anger which is likely why him saying "you devil!" was more towards the Governess than Quint, since she was the one who caused him to face him once again.
The severe psychological trauma suffered by miles is something we as readers need to take into consideration when drawing up conclusions about miles. And as others have already said the constant failure of the relationships he's had in his life probably contributed to his poor mental well-being. Although the character clearly demonstrates these flaws, we shouldn't be to quick to go at him. Instead it would be better didn't blame this on him but his guardians. And it certainly doesn't help when you have a mentally unstable guardian like the governess. gril chees
@curtis Yeah I thouhght he had some form of PTSD too. With the way he supposedly interacts with the governess. Since we know that quint was an abusive guardian that Miles used to have he is trying to gain the upper hand from his new relationship with the governess. The governess is also applying a certain amount of psychological damage to Miles by saying that she sees Quint the ghost. gril chees
I think it is reasonable to have speculation that Miles may have been gay. It is also almost certain that Peter Quint caused him some emotional trauma. Connecting the dots, it makes sense that Quint had an influence on what Miles said at his school that led to his expulsion. In the ending scene we discussed who Miles was referring to as the devil. I could see it going either way: towards The Governess or towards Peter Quint. The Governess was the one who resurfaced the thoughts of Quint which may be why he is calling her the devil, but he may also be bestowing the curse on Peter Quint himself because of his abusiveness.
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