Hence, the prologue introduces the story as a long-kept secret that is about to be revealed.
The secret as narrative strategy consists in the omission of information by the narrator, in order to maintain the narrative suspense among the readers, which can be compared to Douglas’s attitudes towards his audience. An atmosphere of mystery surrounds Douglas’s introduction of the story: his agitation, his reluctance to tell too many details (“You’ll easily judge… you will” , “That will come out. I don’t anticipate” ) and his hiding of the governess’s manuscript before he decided to read it. From the prologue, it becomes obvious that the narrator is not only a subject who tells, but also a subject who allows herself/himself to remain silent.
As soon as the narrator chooses “not to tell” everything, we notice that the great secret of the ghostly experience is made of a chain of “little” secrets, some of which are partially revealed (the cause of the former governess’s death, the reason of Miles’s expulsion from boarding school), whereas others remain untold, and the very ending of the story becomes a secret to the readers, that is, Miles’s death, a question that has generated a lot of interpretations among the scholars. Priscilla Walton assumes Miles’s death as a Pyrrhic victory of the governess’s over the ghost of Peter Quint, who possessed little Miles (315). She states that he died due to his conflict on sexualities. On the contrary, Teahan claims that Miles was strangled by the governess.
The climax of the story coincides with the governess’s fatal “reading” of Miles: unable to tolerate the ambiguity of his failure to conform to her polarized stereotypes of the sexually innocent “angel” and corrupt “fiend”…, she fixes his meaning by strangling him in a deadly literalization of the recurring metaphors of “seizing” and “grasping” that track her struggle