The Turn of the Screw: Novel Summary: Chapter 5 – 6

Chapter 5
Mrs. Grose and the governess discuss what she saw. When the governess insists that the man was not a gentleman, that he was wearing someone elses clothes, and that he was handsome, Mrs. Grose thinks she knows who he is. Quint was the masters valet, and he sometimes stole the masters clothes. Quint is now dead, so if he is there, he is a ghost.
Chapter 6
The governess and Mrs. Grose go over together every aspect of what the governess has seen. The governess has a sudden realization that Quint the ghost was looking for Miles, and she wonders why the boy has never mentioned him, even though Mrs. Grose has told her that Miles and Quint were friends. The governess resolves to protect Miles and Flora, feeling that Mrs. Grose is holding something back from her out of fear.
Another day, the governess is down by the water with Flora. She is sure there is a person watching them from the other side of the lake, but she does not directly look up. She is sure that Flora is aware of this other person and is pretending not to see her.
Chapters 5-6, Analysis
The governess gives a rather detailed description of the man she saw, and it is from this description that Mrs. Grose thinks he is Quint. This is great evidence that, as long as Mrs. Grose is not as flighty as the governess, he is really there. However, the description is actually of a fairly stock evil character. The red hair, the sharp eyes, and the thin lips are all the way evil people were supposed to look. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine that such a detailed description would match so perfectly with the dead valet.
The governess assigns meanings and interpretations to everything. She tells Mrs. Grose what she assumes this woman is thinking. She assumes she knows what her friend knows and thinks, and that these thoughts are consistent with her own thoughts. Moreover, she relies on her intuition to determine fact. When Mrs. Grose asks how she knows that Quint is looking for Miles, she says “I know, I know, I know,” finishing with, “And you know, my dear.” As support for her assertions, she points out “She didnt deny this, but I required, I felt, not even so much telling as that” (35). In fact, it seems the governess requires very little telling about anything, because she has decided her intuition is correct and then takes what she thinks to be the case as proven fact.