Ghosts to Be or Not to Be (Part 2)

        I have read the 1898 book The Turn of the Screw, written by Henry James; in addition I have watched Jack Clayton's 1961 movie, The Innocents. I think that it is a quite interesting story, in addition to being full of mystery. The book and the play seemed to be almost alike, although there are a few discrepancies. I do think that the ghosts in the movie are more vividly depicted and thus seem to be more realistic than they do in the book. Obviously that is probably the case because one cannot see the ghosts in the book instead of just picturing them in one's mind. However, I have concluded that the ghosts do exist in both versions.

        I do feel the other characters are almost identical from The Turn of the Screw to The Innocents. The Turn of the Screw, along with its cinematic counterpart, The Innocents, is a story of a governess, named Miss Giddens in the movie, as she was played by Deborah Kerr, who went to live with and teach two young children. As the story goes on, she started to see spirits and thought that those spirits were taking over the children. The governess made it her mission to help and protect the children, but she failed in this goal. She lured them towards the evil spirits and was moderately accountable for their plight, instead of protecting the children against it. The question is, though, whether or not the ghosts actually existed or if they were created by the governess. The fact is that she is the only one to ever see the evil spirits, although she was convinced the others saw the ghosts as well. The fact is that she is the only one to ever admit to seeing the evil spirits, although she was rightly convinced the others saw the ghosts as well. I think that the evil spirits were actually there because Mrs. Grose (Megs Jenkins) was scared of them, they were seen by the governess (Deborah Kerr), and they were evident in the children's actions.

        Firstly, Mrs. Grose was scared of both ghosts, Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde) and Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop). She had seen how they had been while they were. Quint had not been a good influence, although he had been in charge. Peter Quint had looked after the children and thus he had used to exercise his baleful influence on them. He had been stiff and cold towards Miss. Jessel, in addition to being verbal abusive to her. Miss. Jessel, who had foolishly adored Quint, had been quite submissive to him and, when he had died, she died. The manner of her death was not explained in the book, although Mrs. Grose tells Miss Giddens in the movie that she had either killed herself by drowning in the lake on the estate, no doubt dying from a broken heart. Peter Quint, according to Mrs. Grose, was evil. She was still scared of him even after he died, which is strange, unless one accepts the existence of him as a ghost.

        Secondly, the governess saw the ghosts herself. She saw Peter on top of the tower, in the window, and on the stairs in the mansion. Also she saw Miss Jessel at the lake (on more than one occasion), and in the hall and classroom of the mansion. It cannot be a coincidence that the governess saw the ghosts over five or six times while she worked there. I do not think that it could have been her eyes or the children playing tricks on her.

        Third of all, the ghosts had to be real because they were in the children's actions. Miles (Martin Stephens) is a really sweet boy, although he had done something very serious to be kicked out (for good) from the school that he was attending. In the movie, Flora had the ability to know something before anyone else because she told Miss Giddens that Miles is coming home even before the letter about this arrived at Bly. Moreover, both Miles and Flora (Pamela Franklin) kept disappearing throughout the book and movie. In addition, they were always laughing or whispering to each other, even though there was nothing to laugh at. In the movie, both Miles and Flora looked wickedly cool as though they knew something that the others did not. Sometimes they even looked evil. Miles burned the letter that the governess was sending to his uncle even though he could not offer her a good reason for doing so. Miles and Flora had put together tricks to play on the governess as well. All of their behavior is really odd, considering that Flora is a lovely, well-mannered girl and Miles is a nice little boy at the beginning, but they start to act up through out the story. I think that the ghosts were using them or even taking over their bodies at points throughout the book and movie.

        In conclusion, Mrs. Grose was scared of the ghosts, they were seen by the governess, and they were in the children's actions, so I think that the spirits actually did exist in both the book and the movie.

Wendy Copeland

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