Let Freedom Ring
Freedom is a strange concept. Almost everybody wants it for themselves but when one
has power over someone else, they tend to hold onto this power and not grant freedom. This is
the case with the governess in Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. As the governess, she has
control over her student Miles and she does not want to give him his freedom. Freedom is
defined as the ability to do what one wants. The governess is also battling ghosts throughout the
story, whom are assumed to be real. Throughout the story, Miles is being freed by the ghosts but
restricted by the governess. Ultimately, the governess wins this fight and Miles is not free.
The ghosts and other negative influences in Miles's life are what makes him free. In a
conversation with Mrs. Gross, Mrs. Gross tells the governess and that "Quint was much too free."
The governess responds to this with "a sudden sickness of disgust." (323). This line shows two
things. First, it shows that Quint, one of the ghosts, is associated with freedom. Second, Mrs.
Gross offers no definition of the word "free." It could just mean that Quint liked to give: maybe
he spoiled Miles. The governess takes it to mean something awful, implying that she does not like
the concept of freedom. Another element of being free is the freedom to say what one wants.
Miles takes advantage of this freedom, but only in a negative way. First and foremost, he is
expelled from school for saying "things" that were "too bad... to write home" (400-401). Since he
is only talking to people he "liked" (400) he feels free to speak out and say what he wants. These
things turn out to be bad and hence the...