The Turn of the Screw and The Glass House

        The Turn of the Screw, written by Henry James in 1989 and later adapted to movie format under the name The Innocents, directed by Jack Clayton, has many correlations between a recent movie staring Leelee Sobieski titled The Glass House, directed in 2001 by Daniel Sackheim. In The Glass House, two children, Rhett and Ruby Baker, are orphaned when their parents are killed in a crash. While the circumstances of the parents' deaths may be unknown in The Turn of the Screw and The Innocents these storylines also revolve around two orphaned children and their caretaker(s). Along the way, both sets of children way they encounter many different challenges, while their respective surviving uncles who could care for them turn the responsibility over to someone else.

        In The Turn of the Screw and The Innocents, the children, Miles and Flora (Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin) are left as the responsibility of their uncle (Michael Redgrave), who, in turn, initially hires a governess, Miss Jessel (Clytie Jessop) to raise them so he does not have to. And sadly Miss Jessel is so enamored with her vicious lover that she fails to see what he, Peter Quint (Peter Wyngarde), is doing to the children, especially Miles. Miles spends far too much time with this man, who is a less than acceptable role model for a young boy and is almost totally controlled by him even after he has died. However, in The Glass House; the children barely even speak to their uncle. Their parents do not leave the children with the uncle but instead send them to a couple, the Glasses, played by Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgård, who are supposed to be friends of the family.

        As the plot develops in both the movies and the book, one can begin to see the similarities between the caretakers of these children. One can see a clear similarity between the original caretakers of Miles and Flora and the current caretakers of the Baker children. Quint was said to be stern, sneaky, deceitful, and was often evil and cold, much like Mr. Glass. These men also share the trait of being controlling of their women. Miss Jessel is also a lot like Mrs. Glass because they are both weak and not emotionally strong enough to stand up to their men, until they were dead. In Mrs. Glass's case it was her way of standing up to him. By killing herself, she showed him that he could not make her do everything he wanted her do, like send Ruby off to some boarding school. She believes/knows that if she were dead it would have a negative impact on him.

        The Baker children are tricked in the beginning to believe that their new guardians are wonderful; they are bribed with video games and new clothes, but before long the older girl begins to realize something is wrong. This is the point that the comparison of similarities breaks down between Miles and Flora and the Baker children.

        In the end of The Innocents and The Turn of the Screw, Flora ends up being sent away, and Miles is either scared to death or smothered. But in the end of The Glass House, the children end up killing Mr. Glass to protect themselves. When he finds his wife dead, he goes crazy and aims his anger at the children. So the ending are very different because the Baker children manage to survive their crazy caretakers, but in the end of The Innocents and The Turn of the Screw poor Miles dies, and Flora is shipped with the housekeeper.

        Theses stories are about two sets of children trapped in unfortunate circumstances. Unfortunately for Miles and Flora their uncle did not care enough to protect them himself, and it was to their detriment. Just the opposite is true for the Baker children; their uncle takes them and actually keeps them with him so he can shower them with love.

Heather White

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