Ambiguity of language
This ambiguity woven throughout the novella, leads to the interesting problem of multiple interpretations.
In the turn of the screw, the novel is highly inexplicit where the novella has become a subject to limitless and more often conflicting interpretations from different academic perspectives.
Henry James himself stated when it comes to interpreting the text there is no eligible absolute wrong
The Freudians believe the governess to be hysterical over a repressed sexual desire towards the master. The Formalists believe that it is what it says it is, a ghost story, believing that there really is an evil at work. However, both interpretations leave gaps in their analysis, never fully explaining the elusive truths of this story.
To enhance the ambiguity, James creates a conflict within readers about whether or not to trust the governess.
At once, while readers are being led to believe the ghosts are real, they are similarly being pulled in the opposite direction, questioning the governess’s reliability.
1st person: James is able to bring the reader to both believe and question the governess at the same time.
Jones states, “Unlike the third person omniscient narrator who knows exactly what is happening and therefore is obligated to furnish ‘specifications,’ the governess can only guess and hope and fear” (118).
This forces the reader to experience all the same emotions of guessing, hoping, and fearing as the governess, at the same time as she does, never fully knowing what is happening.
Other characters lead us to question her
Indeed, other characteristics of the governess lead the reader to question her credibility further: “she is hysterical, compulsive, overly possessive, tense, excitable, nervous, lacking in wisdom, and prone to make faulty judgments” (Jones 119).
In writing her character thus, James increases the ambiguity of the facts in the story, never allowing readers fully to trust her, despite...