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Dialogue is Action

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The Governess  

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aplitstudent123
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@savhoisington I think her odd obsession from the children comes from her possible disappointment that she wasn't able to have a family of her own? Clearly she wouldn't have taken this job if she hadn't given up on finding a husband and having a family. So, I think the way she instantly loves this children stems from the idea that she has always thought of them as her own. When someone has a kid, they love them instantly and speak to how perfect their baby is. I think when the governess arrived, she had gone in with a similar mentality and similar hopes such that when she met the children it was as if she was meeting her own child the first time and thought they were absolutely perfect. I think the reason it feels so strange to us is because these in fact were not her children, she had just met them, and they were both grown up far beyond being babies.


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xwing37
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@snowyyeti, I agree, I think obsession is a good term for how the governess thinks about the kids. There are multiple times where she obsesses over how fantastic and wonderful the kids are in the beginning of the book. I found this really weird because she talked about how much she loved the kids way too much to be normal. I also think it's important to bring up how she ignores Miles's bad behavior in school because she's so blinded by how he acts with her. But I definitely agree that the way she talks about the kids would be considered obsession.


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Gil
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@savhoisington I definitely think that she is trying to reassure herself that she is doing the right thing. It reminds me of what we talked about earlier this year that the more you deny something, the more you are affected by it. I can see a connection between that concept and the Governess. The more she tries to tell herself that she is happy the less I believe it. I was thinking about the need for confirmation that she seeks when I was finishing the book and I see a parallel between the Governess trying to convince herself that she chose the right path in taking care of these children and her trying to convince herself that these ghosts are real. I believe it was chapter 20 or so when she thought Flora admitted to seeing the ghosts and she was SO excited and so relieved-it was the confirmation she had been seeking with the ghosts. This governess has this doubt within herself, and so when someone else confirms how she felt, she was ecstatic. I thought it was interesting to see these parallel situations for the governess. 


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Nicole
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@savhoisington I definitely think the governess is finding her fulfillment in her work, but I didn't really view it as being any different than the fulfillment most women would have gotten from having a family. Yes, Flora, Miles, and the uncle aren't the governess' family, but it seems like she kind of thinks of them that way. She seems to view Miles and Flora as her own children, more so than most people will say that a close friend or someone else close to them is "family". Could it be possible she has even convinced herself that they are her kids? And for the uncle, there is a conversation that the governess and Mrs. Grose have where the governess reveals her previous delusion that their uncle possibly loved her, but Mrs. Grose assures her that that isn't so. But I think that conversation was very revealing about how the governess views this family. She really convinced herself that he was in love with her. So I think it's quite possible that just as she views Miles and Flora as her own kids, she viewed the uncle as their father and her husband. I know we have talked a LOT about the unsettling relationship between the governess and Miles, so I'm starting to wonder if Miles even took the uncle's place in this way in her mind, especially after Mrs. Grose burst her bubble by saying the uncle doesn't love her. That sounds so gross, but he is the main "man" in her life, and he begins to take the role of "man of the house" since his dad and uncle aren't there, so it may be entirely possible that she is beginning to see him this way. So even though her fulfillment is coming from her work, I think she may be seeing it as fulfillment of having a family, like you said most women would feel fulfillment by, rather than being fulfilled by her work.


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Jackson Von Habsburg
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@conster I think that using the period while yes it may be a stressor which causes problems in her life. I just think this is an excuse to not blame the governess herself if everyone is wrong except for the governess then maybe the issue is with the governess herself. I feel like this is the same strategy as what is being done here. externalizing the issues which the governor faces which is an issue with her own health and we are dismissing that by blaming the outside world for everything which is wrong. She needs to come to term with her own demons so she can better fix herself because right now she is down a path of destruction blame the external ( ghosts) for the issues she faces 


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abuzz
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@gil This theme of constant affirmations stuck out to me as well. We see this very vividly in the last two pages of the book. The governess sees Quint peering in through the window while she is with Miles, and uses Miles's verbal accounts of "Miss Jessel" and "Peter Quint" as confirmation that he can see them too. She never further elaborates on whether he could actually see them or not, for his statements of their names was enough for her to be able to express that he saw the ghosts as well. With this instance being right at the end of the book, it seems that the governess uses this tactic to try to convince readers of her journal that she is in the right even though many of us reading this book seem to believe her less and less as she goes on...


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DeepThought
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@jacksonvon I totally agree. The governess throughout the book kept jumping to conclusions that everything happening was someone else's fault. One example of this that I noticed was when Flora ran away by the lake, and the governess just kept insisting that ghosts took her, even though sometimes kids sometimes wander if you aren't paying attention to them. The governess also kept saying that the kids were hiding things from her, and even though they were (Miles stealing the letter) the governess was thinking that they had some conspiracy against her, which I thought was absolutely paranoid and ridiculous when I read about it.


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Gil
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There was a question that Mr. Chisnell brought up during class that I thought was really interesting-why did the governess write this story down? What exactly was she trying to accomplish? I think some have brought up in the obfuscation forum that it is because she is trying to cope with trauma and she is trying to untangle the chaos that she experienced. I think that this is very likely, but after the reading the ending, I had a new thought. I feel like she is almost trying to justify the death of little Miles. The fact that she wrote all this about saving the children, feels defensive to me, like the governess is saying, it is not my fault Miles died-I actually saved him, you're welcome. The governess seems to have written this as a defensive account as to why an eight year old has died in her care. The ghosts are her defense. Did anyone else think this as well? I'd like to hear your thoughts and opinions on why exactly the governess has written this story!


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