"He had put them in possession of Bly"

Several critics have remarked on the suggestiveness of the name of the house in which the governess takes up her post. Bly hints both at blithe and blight, thereby evoking the ambiguity with which the novella is laced. At the same time, bly is an established — albeit uncommon — word in its own right, meaning resemblance. Although it's not known whether James was familiar with this term which, in his own lifetime, existed only as a rare British dialect usage, it is a fitting name for an arena in which appearances, and their potential to mislead, are centre stage.