The Turn of the Screw — A Study Guide

10 November 2013
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What ghost story inspired James’ novella?

Are the ghosts in the novel real or figments of a neurotic imagination?
How does James use an unreliable narrator to create suspense?
How does James generate such a sinister atmosphere in the story?
For the price of a chocolate bar, you can become an expert on one of the greatest novellas in the language.

This is a detailed study guide for anybody either studying or teaching Henry James’s novella. It is tailored to help students write an excellent piece of coursework on the book, or assist them with studying for an exam — but it will be of interest to the general reader too. For the teacher, it quotes important passages in the book and offers literary analysis of them. The guide is distinctive because it is a) modern in its approach b) encourages a personal response to the text — vital if a candidate is going to get a higher mark in an assessment. There is a detailed discussion of the context in which James’s work arose and an exploration of how different readers might interpret the text now. Lively and engaging, it is written by an experienced teacher who understands what needs to be covered in a study guide. An excellent resource for GCSE and A Level students, or anyone studying the book at school or university.

To sum up, this study guide is useful in the following ways:

It is a great resource for students aiming for top grades;
It offers a fantastic stimulus for encouraging students to develop personal responses to the text, which are vital if they are going to achieve at a high level;
It could prove to be a great classroom resource for teachers too: the important sections of the novel are quoted in full here, together with useful discussion points/comprehension questions;
It is written by an experienced teacher who has taught the text in “real” classroom situations and knows what students need to learn.

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