Summary of Section XIII
The governess insists it was not her imagination. From this time the children are aware of her predicament. She sees their attitudes as ironic now instead of innocent. She feels aware of the forbidden ground of topics with them and feels she is their puppet, having to avoid what she really wants them to confess. Now it is autumn, and she no longer sees the ghosts, even though she claims her sensitivity has deepened. She longs to know the worst about her “obsession” with the ghosts (p.52).
Commentary on Section XIII
At times, the governess admits she wants to have it out with the children, but she cannot bring herself to say the names of Quint and Jessel. What saves them all is the idea that the uncle could sometime show up. Everyone seems to want this except the governess. The children write to their uncle, but she never posts the letters, thinking of his instructions about not being disturbed. They know she does not send the letters. This seems a bit controlling and cruel to the reader. From one point of view, it is not she who is their puppet, but they who are her prisoners. She treats them as if they are themselves Quint and Jessel. At one point she thinks the children are not even there; they are possessed.