Critical Essays Foreshadowing in The Turn of the Screw


James is a very careful artist who uses rather often and freely the technique of foreshadowing a later action. This means that he has given hints in the early parts of the novel about some important thing that is going to happen later in the story. Thus, a touch of realism is added to the novel because so many things have foreshadowed the main action that the reader should not be surprised to discover the action at the end.

For example, in Daisy Miller we are given very early in the novel hints of Daisy's spontaneous and impetuous nature. Thus it is not surprising to find that she carries this characteristic to its logical extreme. Furthermore, we hear several times about the danger of catching the Roman fever, so when Daisy does become sick, we have been prepared for this by earlier allusions to the illness. In The Turn of the Screw, there is every type of indication that sooner or later the governess will confront the children with the presence of one of the apparitions. When she confronts Flora with the presence of Miss Jessel, the little girl becomes sick. As a result, we are prepared to accept the fact that Miles will die from his exposure to the apparition of Peter Quint. Thus, James uses foreshadowing to prepare the reader for the climactic events of the story.

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