Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Michael P. Gillespie

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Michael Grafals

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Nathaniel Cadle

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


The Turn of the Screw, trauma studies, Henry James, adult powers, children subjects

Date of Defense



Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw (1898) has long been a work capable of numerous interpretations and readings centering around the lead character, the governess, and her intentions and interactions in the novella. However, this thesis explores the extent of the governess’s actions and power and their results towards the children for which she is responsible. In this thesis, I focus on the presence of trauma as presumed by the adult characters, perpetuating unintentional limitations on the children who are assumed to be traumatized. The thesis uses trauma studies to understand power dynamics within the novella. The power dynamics between adults create a culture of silence that isolates and hinders the potential of understanding knowledge for those assumed to have undergone some form of witnessing to the mistreatment.





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