Summary of Section I
The governess begins her manuscript in the first person describing her doubts as she takes a coach to Bly in June to assume her duties. When she reaches Bly, however, she is impressed by the beauty of the country and the grandeur of the house. Mrs. Grose is kind and respectful, and Flora is a beautiful child. The only thing that seems odd is that Mrs. Grose is overly glad to see her.
The governess goes on about Flora's angelic beauty, but at the same time she is restless and thinks she hears unnatural sounds in the house, such as the cry of a child. Flora moves from Mrs. Grose's room into the governess's bedroom. The narrator mentions to Mrs. Grose that she is thrilled with the situation and came to Bly be carried away as she was in London with the interview. Mrs. Grose seems to understand she means that she is smitten with her employer and mentions that she is not the first or last to be so charmed by him.
The narrator spends the day in getting acquainted with Flora outdoors on the grounds. She lets the child show her around.
Commentary on Section I
The narrator is an enthusiastic young woman of imagination, finding her situation romantic. She is naïve and impressed with her first situation away from home. Her first doubts are brushed away by the beauty of the antique mansion and the child. The housekeeper seems agreeable. Many readers have seen similarities between this narrator and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Jane is also a parson's daughter in a strange old mansion with a mystery. This narrator has other similarities to Jane, such as her combined passion and reason, and her love for an older employer. The governess is overwhelmed at the angelic quality of Flora, but there are hints that there could be something underneath the surface at Bly. She mentions that her moods went up and down in the first days, and this is what the narrative shows. First she is at ease, then disturbed, then dismisses her suspicions until something else comes up. She is trying to be happy at Bly, but gradually, she sees a hidden dimension.