Two Different Henrys

         The same author, Henry James, wrote both two stories I read this semester, Washington Square and The Turn of the Screw. Washington Square was written in 1880, and The Turn of the Screw was written in 1898. These stories were not written very far apart, but they are very different. Washington Square, filmed in 1949 by William Wyler as The Heiress, takes place in the city of New York, while The Turn of the Screw, filmed in 1961 by Jack Clayton as The Innocents, takes place in London and rural Essex. Washington Square is a work about a love story between a woman named Catherine and a man named Morris. The Turn of the Screw is a classic ghost story, with illicit erotic undertones.

         Washington Square, in my opinion, was a better book than The Turn of the Screw. When Henry wrote Washington Square, he wrote more about true things. The story both on the pages and on the screen was more real to me. Henry showed more feelings in this book than he did the other. He illustrated the true feelings of a father and a daughter, and how a father is very protective of his daughter, as was also depicted on the screen by Ralph Richardson as Dr. Sloper and Olivia de Havilland as Catherine. The Turn of the Screw seemed so unreal. I like scary stories, but this one did not seem real at all either on the page or on the screen. Henry made me think the governess, named Miss Giddens in the film, as played by Deborah Kerr, was crazy. She seemed to be the only one seeing the ghosts, which is very odd. In most ghost stories, other people see the ghosts because the ghosts are trying to scare them. This story is not scary at all. Henry does not put much emotion in this story as does in the other story. In the book and film, the children, Miles (Martin Stephens) and Flora (Pamela Franklin,) do not talk about how they feel; and neither does Mrs. Gross (Megs Jenkins).

         I probably would not want to read The Turn of the Screw or watch The Innocents again, but I will be reading Washington Square and probably watching The Heiress, again. If I could give Henry James advice, it would be to write more about real events and emotion. Real events et to us people, especially me, because we can relate to things that are familiar to us. Familiar items make a better book, in my opinion.

Jennifer Myers

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