1 Book, 1 Week: The Turn Of The Screw

1 Book 1 Week January 27, 2014

turn of the screw

Semester 2 of my third year of university is upon us! Which means my educational life will end in approximately 4-5 months for the foreseeable future. Scary thoughts, right? Admittedly, I have mixed emotions about it all, being excited to pursue the life I want to lead and be consumed by projects that excite me (or potentially end up in a dead end, unsatisfying 9 to 5 if all that goes to pot), but also being very attached to education. Since the age of 4, it has been all I have known, my entire life has been structured by it, and it maintains a sense of comforting security from which I am about to be thrown out in the cold.

Uncertainty and upheaval makes me very queasy, even if I am far more welcoming of it than I ever used to be, however I’ll be damned if all these years of hard work results in a degree score that I won’t be satisfied with! I actually chose my degree based on the final year modules being really interesting to me, which is lucky considering 75% of my final grade is dependant on third year (eep). If I had thought the amount of reading I had done for my previous term of uni had been bad enough, I was in for a sore surprise this term; both of my modules are literature based, so with an extensive primary and secondary reading list for each (and that’s just the suggested books & theories without our individual further research), I am reading at every opportunity. In bed, on the bus, in front of the TV, on the toilet. (t.m.i, soz), this is a full time effort atm. Thankfully, I’m now one book down(!), the first of which being The Turn of the Screw.

This was a book that took me quite a conscious effort to get into. It is not something that strikes you squarely between the eyes and makes you want to continue reading however, once the strange begins to occur, it can get a tad addictive. An unnamed protagonist listens to a manuscript read by a man named Douglas that recounts the tale of a young, unnamed governess,  charged with the care of Flora and Miles, two orphaned children who were taken on by their uncle. The tale takes a spooky twist when the governess begins to see ghosts that she is convinced the children, too, see.

As the story progresses, events appear more and more ambiguous, and whilst the tale culminates suddenly with an unprecedented event, it manages to feel lacklustre despite being shocking. Many of the narrative threads are left unanswered which – despite no doubt being the point – makes the text feel ultimately unsatisfying, however during the journey through the tale, there is just enough hinted at to spark that desire in the reader to persevere and finish the text.

The Turn of the Screw is perhaps one of those books that reveal more of themselves to the reader upon the second read, however despite peaking some interest, it is not a tale that I have any inclination to return to anytime in the near future.

turn of the screw 2

‘another turn of the screw of ordinary human virtue’

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