That’s right! It’s the Governess’ Pinterest board. Henry James’ Turn of the Screw has left an everlasting impression on me and that’s mostly because of the governess. She isn’t my favorite character, but she definitely has a presence that I can’t seem to get over. In this Pinterest board, I tried to incorporate the personality we read her as in the story as well as what I feel she would be interested in today.
In my previous blog post about the governess, I mentioned how much she reminded me of Jane Eyre. So it was only right to add some references to Charlotte Brontë’s novel. Jane is also a governess and falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester. It’s the love story that is so common in governess novels. I gave a modern flare in adding the movie poster because I feel like the governess would definitely watch the film. She is a woman, so the movie adaptation would be her “chick flick” pick. I also added the picture of Mr. Rochester because it’s the closest thing we have to putting a face to the governess’ employer. I think she views the children’s uncle as mysterious and stern, just like Mr. Rochester.
I really enjoyed the BuzzFeed pin a lot. As heroic as Jane was for women, the governess is the opposite. She has a rollercoaster ride of emotions and is in the constant state of fear. However, I had to put myself in the mindset of the governess. If she stumbled upon this pin, she would see a connection. The governess is well invested in her feelings, no matter how insane they can be at times. She didn’t leave her position, even if she did have a chance to leave. I have to give her some credit in comparison to Jane.
To hold true to the Victorian culture, I pinned some dresses I pictured the governess would wear. As a governess, she had to dress professionally and be presentable. The modern-day governess has got to have some style! The hairstyles were something I enjoyed pinning for the governess. It’s so elegant and fitting. The governess might be breaking down on the inside, but at least she’ll look good as it happens!
In the movie adaptation of James’ novella, The Innocents, the actors captured the characters of Miles and Flora so well. I pinned their photo because they are a big part of the governess’ life. Not only are they her students, but she also treats them like her own children. She expresses a lot of love for them and this picture would remind her of that. The movie captured the governess’ interest of gardening or love for nature as well. In the pin-board, I added pictures of beautiful flowers and garden arrangements that the governess would appreciate. Since her employer is very wealthy, I would assume the governess and the children live in a mansion. The pins of the Victorian home and entrance to the garden reflect the grand lifestyle the governess had been introduced to. Because the uncle and his life infatuate her, these pins would support her deepest desires.
The pin of the little boy on the sand-filled time out stool reminded me of Miles. The governess is not necessarily a disciplinary figure, but I want to say she has the power to be deep down inside. She would pin this for future reference. It’s creative and useful because if Miles or Flora wants to act badly, this would come in handy. They’ll be treated like a little child in a time-out corner. As a governess, she does have a duty to actually teach Miles and Flora. I added a “How to Plan Your Homeschool Year” pin so the governess can have somewhat of an idea in going about her lesson plans. There’s also a vintage journal where she can jot down her lesson plans and even her inner thoughts. I’m sure the governess would have some sort of a diary to help her get her feelings out.
What’s the governess without her paranoia? All throughout the novella, her emotions were on high. Some of the pins are funny and totally relatable to the governess. Her paranoia about the children and ghosts seem to be all in her mind. When someone is paranoid they tend to make stuff up to cope. The governess was so concerned about the ghosts that the “How To Deal With A Haunting In Your Home” would be perfect for her. She is always trying to figure out the ghosts’ intentions that perhaps this article would give her some ease. The “bipolar” quote alludes to her ups and downs with the children. One moment she loves them and thinks they are angels, then the next they are mischievous and being corrupted. No matter her actions, she justifies it as “caring.” All that she does is for the good of the children, even when at times she over-steps her boundaries.
This Pinterest board helps me understand the two sides of the governess. One side of her shows her as a woman in love and full of passion. The other side is full of paranoid and constantly on edge. It was interesting trying to put myself in the place of the governess. She might be oblivious to the fact that she is not a great teacher and is very obsessed, but us as readers see it completely. The governess is a bit in denial with her intentions. She feels like she is this protector for the children, when she needs protection from herself as well. I think these Pins shape the governess’ interests, experience, and concerns.