The Turn of the Screw: Novel Summary: Chapter 21 – 22

Chapter 21
The next morning, Mrs. Grose informs the governess that Flora is ill. She has been very much affected by the governess accusing her of seeing ghosts; she resents the imputation of untruthfulness. The governess fears that Flora will never speak to her again. It appears that Flora is terrified that the governess may come into her room to see her. For her part, the governess is worried that Flora will complain about her to her uncle. She thinks Flora wants to get rid of her. The governesss solution is that Mrs. Grose must take Flora off to her uncle, while she herself confronts Miles. She tells Mrs. Grose that she thinks Miles does want to talk to her. She believes she needs another day or two with him to bring it out.
Mrs. Grose agrees to leave and take Flora with her. She is convinced more than ever that there was some sort of terrible relation between Flora and Miss Jessel because of the abusive language Flora is using to describe the governess. She must have learned it from Miss Jessel, they conclude.
Chapter 22
That day, Mrs. Grose leaves with Flora. Miles does not notice the governesss deliberately cultivated firm manner, and during the day he does just as he wishes. But, that evening they dine together in the dining room. They both know it is time for a confrontation. Miles asks about his sister, and the governess assures him that she will soon recover from her illness. Miles eats well but reveals nothing during the brief meal. After dinner, when the waiter leaves, Miles exclaims that they are now alone.
Chapters 21 and 22, Analysis
Mrs. Grose is willing to believe that Flora converses with ghosts because Flora is capable of vulgar language. If she is as base as to be able to use terrible language, it is easy to imagine she has done something as minor as to talk to ghosts. The whole wonder of Flora and Miles is that they are beautiful and smart and well-bred. When Flora is revealed to be imperfect, Mrs. Grose is certain that anything can be believed of the child.
Similarly, the governess is less concerned about Miles and ghosts at this point than she is about all the possible ways he could be imperfect: doing something bad at school, rebelling, being friendly with the lowly Quint. The ghosts are for her simply a horrifying manifestation of all the evil these seemingly perfect children are capable of.