Turn of the Screw Quotes


Heaven and Hell imagery

'Peter Quint - you devil.'

'...and he therefore was an angel.'

'blameless and foredoomed.'

'...a figure of quite unmistakeable horror and evil.'

'No; shes at a distance.'

'fighting with a deamon for a human soul.'

'with the sense that, pale and ravenous demon.'

'White face of damnation.'

'The limit of evil time.'

'He's a horror.'

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Insanity VS Sanity

'I'd rather die than give you a pain or do you a wrong.'

'What a dreadful turn, to be sure, Miss! Where on earth do you see anything?'

'We were alone with the quiet day,  and his little heart, disspossed, had stopped.'

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'...to see him take allowances that gave the very distance of his fall in the world.'

'They were like those cherubs of the anecdote.'

'...of one of Rapheals Holy Infants.'

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Ship imagery

'I had the fancy of our being almost as lost as a handful of passengers in a great drifting ship. Well, I was strangely at the helm.'

'Just clutching the helm, that I avoided total wreck.'

'Standing at the bottom fo the sea and raising his eyes.'

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Innocence of Flora and Miles

'Little fairy prince.'

'They were cherubs of the anecdote.'

'...the perfection of childish rest.'

'Isnt it just proof of her blessed innocence.'

'...of one of Rapheals Holy Infants.'

'his indescribable little air of knowing nothing in the world but love.'

'If the child gives the effect another turn of the screw, what do you say to two children – ?'

'"To contaminate?"- my big word had left her at a loss. I explained it. "To corrupt."'

'If he was innocent then what on earth was I?'

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Foreshadowing of Miles' death

'...as appealing as soke wistful patient in a childrens hospital.'

'...like a convalescent slightly fatigued, a  languid shake of his head.'

'...as one had seen sick children look.'

'...the tremendous pulse of his little heart.'

'little beautiful fevered face.'

'sickly heart.'

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'Quint and that women's. They want to get to them.'

'I want my own sort.'

'Well I think also,you know, of this queer buisness of ours.'

'Peter quint had come into view like a sentiel before a prison.'

'Peter Quint- You devil.'

'There was no ambiguity in anything.'

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'Over which the rooks circled and cawed in the golden sky.'

'...the great state bed, as I almost felt it, the figured full draperies.'

'...in empty chambers and dull corridors, on crooked staircases.'

'an old machicolated square tower.'

'for I must, in circling about the place, have walked three miles.' (boundaryless)

'Bly...which was healthy and secure.'

'A castle of romance.'  (These two quotes can be used to show the prelapsarian attribute of Bly.')

'Big ugly antique.' (These two quotes can be used to show the prelapsarian attribute of Bly.')

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'...as a charming story suddenly to meet someone.'

'Dark as midnight in her black dress, her haggard beauty and her unutterable woe, she had looked at me long enough to appear to say that her right to sit at my table was as good as mine to sit at hers.'

Quint - 'He has no hat.'    'Quint was much too free.'

'An unknown man in a lonely place is a permitted object of fear to a woman privately bred.'

'Is he were a murdered then at least we would have spoken.'

'Filled the room like the taste of poison.'

Miss Jessel - 'Vile predecessor.' 'She was there so I was jusitifed.' 'Her body half bowed in an attitude of woe.'

'A figure of quite unmistakeable horror and evil; a woman in black, pale and dreadful.'

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Good VS Evil

'I wondered why she was so scared.' ( the role reversal of Quint and the Governess is the first point within the novel that the reader questions her insanity.)

'like a sential before a prison.'

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Social Class

'The scene had a greatness that made it a different affair from my own scant home'

'...and there was a touch of the strange freedom, as I remember, in the sign of familiarity of his wearing no hat'

' "But if he isn't a gentleman –"
"What is he? He's a horror." '

'Seated at my own table in clear noonday light I saw a person...had applied herself to the considerable effort of a letter to her sweetheart.'

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The Governess

'youngest of several daugthers of a poor country parson.'

'In supreme authority.'

'I was like a gaoler.'

'To find joy in the extraordinary flight of herionism the occasion demanded of me.'

'I'm rather carried away easily.'

'My imaginiation had in a flash turned real.'

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Miles and Flora


'To fine and fair for the little horrid unclean school world.'

'If he confesses he's saved.'

'It was Quint's own fancy to play with him.'

'He uttered the cry of a creature hurled over the abyss.'


'Most beautiful child I had ever seen.'

'She had turned common and almost ugly.'

'Vulgarly pert little girl in the street.'

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Context Quotes

'A neurotic case of sex repression.' Wilson

'Courage is a mark of deep hysteria.' Edel

'There is no word or incident in the story that cannot be interpretated both ways.' Brooke-rose

'But is the Governess condemming the spirits to damnation or is she becoming damned herself?' Wilson

'they have their origin within us.' Woolf

'This instant infatuation, decidely not typical in James' stories, may be taken as a sign of suspectability and abnormality.' Cargill

'What they are and what they do are only exquisite dramatisations of her little personal.' Wilson

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