Summary of Section XXII
Being left alone with Miles is another turn of the screw for the narrator who feels weak and in a tight place. No one else in the house, the servants, for instance, understand what has happened and stare at her. She girds herself to be heroic and firm. Miles is acting with complete freedom and goes off on his own. The governess is relieved of the pretenses they have been living under; all seems in the open now. Miles seems more conscious and intelligent now. He asks why Flora had to go, and the governess says because she is too ill to be at Bly.
Commentary on Section XXII
The governess has hardened her will to treat of what she thinks is a supernatural battle, involving the soul of Miles. She recognizes ten-year-old Miles as a remarkable person, and in fact, treats him as an adult. Some readers see her placing romantic expectations on the child because he is so precocious, and now, in her eyes, not innocent like a little boy. Like adults, they circle around one another, trying to feel out the situation, and sometimes the governess thinks Miles is trying to be her ally.