Ghost Stories Essay

2603 words - 11 pages

Ghost Stories

Ghost stories revolve around lots of Spooky tales that work on
displacing the reader's fear. Some of the main techniques which make
them successful involve: Fear, Drama, Danger and Suspense. However,
the main idea is that they create tension too. Such stories which use
tension to dramatic affect are "The Red Room" by H.G. Wells and
"Farthing House" by Susan Hill; both are written in first person
narrative to allow the reader to get scared along with the main
character. Both stories also build tension through their Style,
Setting, Structure and Language.

"The Red Room" is about a ghost hunter who is a legendary ghost,
"Farthing House" is about a woman who stays ...view middle of the document...

"looking askance". This action suggests the custodian knows something
we don't, he appears too shifty.

Wells continues to build tension through introducing the second man
who also adds to the scene: "shambling step", "more bent, more
wrinkled, more aged", "his lower lip half averted, hung pale and pink
from his decaying yellow teeth", "began to cough". The verb
'shambling' suggests the man may have a limp and the repetition of the
word 'more' portrays a disgusting image of the ageing wreck, barely
human. The man's manky description backs this up and encourages the
reader to create horrible images in their minds of what he looks like,
the words 'decaying' and 'yellow' even suggests an evil connection
between him and the house; the house itself is haunted and the room
they are in has 'a queer old mirror' adding to the connection with the
spooky atmosphere created by the custodians. The house is certainly
set to create tension with the traditional reference to the creaking
door; "The door creaked on its hinges as a second old man entered" and
the old man and the house are definitely intrinsically linked causing
unease in the reader especially.

This sinister air of unrest is continued by the use of
personification: "A monstrous shadow of him crouched upon the wall".
The word monstrous implies evil and emphasizes the second man's
vulgarity further as does the verb 'jerked' which suggests an
unnatural movement, combined with the fact that the man has 'red
eyes', Wells is able instantly to create fear and tension in the
reader by making them feel uncomfortable.

Finally, Wells finishes setting the scene with the introduction of a
woman who repeatedly comments; "(this night of all nights said the old
woman)". The author's use of brackets emphasizes the importance of
this statement by making the reader wonder what is wrong with this
particular night, that the story is set on. By now Wells has well and
truly set the story up without the reader or the main character even
being in the Red Room! This use of direct speech as the characters
converse, tells the reader all about the room without ever seeing it;
"It's your own choosing". This short sentence suggests the impending
doom of the main character if he goes into the room. Tension is
complete and now only needs developing.

In contrast to Wells setting, Susan Hill, on the other hand creates
tension in an entirely different way in "Farthing House" (through her
own setting). Although Hill's uses first person narrative as well, the
start to her story is entirely different. Despite Well's dramatic
opening, the reader is instantly drawn to Hill's story by being
involved in her secret; "I have told you any of this before, I have
told anyone". This creates a personal tone totally different to Wells,
who begins his story with direct speech, whereas Wells, sets his story
through his characters, Hill uses description to build her tension;
"And then a light...

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