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October 30, 2014 • Cee • Letters

Dear characters in The Turn of the Screw,

Do you know how much you frightened me when I was reading you for my American Literature class?

I should’ve expected it since The Turn of the Screw is a ghost story, and I’m easily scared (and prone to paranoia), but no excuses! You really scared me! And I want retribution! (In the non-scary kind.)

Do you know where I read you? In my college’s library. In the back. Where it’s quiet and semi-secluded. No soul around. And you know what lurks in the unknown, right? Scary shit.

I felt kept in the dark like the governess. There was something going on in the book that hadn’t been revealed. Every time I felt a draft, I wondered if it was because I was genuinely cold (I have poor circulation at times) or because somebody or something was breathing down my neck. I was afraid that if I looked behind me or around where I was sitting, Peter Quint would be staring at me with his red hair and whiskers. I thought, “shit, did I somehow become the governess? Seeing this or, dare I say, imagining this?”

That fear followed me every time I returned home during the time I was still reading the book. When I turned off my lights for bed, I worried that a fuzzy outline of a figure would pop up in the dark, staring at me ominously. The thought sent me under my blankets (because obviously, the blanket can prevent anything from entering). It’s rather silly that such thoughts came into my head; a fictional story can’t harm me, but I couldn’t help it! The Turn of the Screw was just too good, and it made me think my reaction kind of mimicked how the governess acted and how the book could be read. So, that was kind of interesting?