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Day 8

Chapters 14–16

July 16, 2020 by Garth Greenwell

The governess speaks of Miss Jessel's "indescribably grand melancholy of indifference & attachment.” In this scene Britten gives her one of the great emo arias in opera—& I love her goth style in Opera North's production. —Garth

The challenge of 1st-person narration is making the story bigger than its narrator. James gives us enough of others' reactions to see—perhaps!—around the governess’s view. Here, are we shown how the others manage her increasingly unhinged behavior? —Garth

“‘Master Miles only said ‘We must do nothing but what she likes!’
‘I wish indeed he would! And what did Flora say?’
‘Miss Flora was too sweet. She said ‘Oh of course, of course!’ – and I said the same.’”

Though she is constrained by differences of class, education, authority, Mrs. Grose still emerges as the adult in the story who cares most for the children—the only one whose concern is first & foremost their well-being. —Garth

“‘He didn’t really in the least know them. The fault’s mine.’ She had turned quite pale.
‘Well, you shan’t suffer,’ I answered.
‘The children shan’t!’ she emphatically returned.

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