Ghost Stories

In this essay I will be writing about the ghost story genre. The ghost story genre is different to other types of story because it creates tension and suspense among the audience. Also authentic ghost stories involve supernatural beings. These factors make ghost stories unique. Ghosts have always appeared in plays and stories; for example Hamlin, Macbeth and the headless horseman all feature qualities of a ghost story. People still enjoy ghost stories in works such as hide and seek, Harry Potter and the sixth sense, which are all popular productions.

In the nineteenth century ghost stories became very popular because more and more ghost stories were being produced. The introduction of films in the nineteenth century encouraged more and more people to make films; the audience took a liking to ghost stories and are still popular to this day. Before the ghost story genre became fashionable, the gothic fiction genre was very popular. The ghost story genre was different to this as it had a different effect on the audience. Ghost stories have the ability to create suspense and are able to frighten the audience.

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I think the reason Victorians enjoyed ghost stories was because they were very superstitious, also because of the effect ghost stories had on them. I will be studying the stories of the withered arm, the monkeys paw and the signalman. I will be exploring the important elements in these stories, such as the tension and suspense which make the reader want to read on. The title of a story is very often important because it attracts the attention of the reader. The monkeys paw is an effective title as it catches the reader’s attention also it suggests that the story has a lot to be revealed, because not much is given away in the title.

The withered arm is another good title as it makes me think that the story is interesting and that it is worth reading. The title of any novel is important because it is the first thing that the reader looks at and therefore gives the reader the first impression of the book. The short story writer has to attract the reader’s attention straightaway, so the beginning of a story is crucial. In the beginning of the monkeys paw the writer grabs the reader’s attention by introducing lots of characters in a short period of time. Also the writer uses lots of description and verbs which also help grab the reader’s attention.

A story can be told in a different ways. The monkeys paw is told in the third person. The advantage of the third person narrative is that the writer is not restricted in the words that they can use, also the pace of the story is quicker. The writer has chosen third person narrative to tell the story so that their vocabulary will not be limited. Also using third person narrative allows the writer to use more description and there will be less use of dialogue. The main character in the monkeys paw is described as a very kind, friendly man. Mr White is also described as being stubborn and sometimes selfish.

This suggests that he may make selfish decisions where as under the skin Mr White is a very kind man. The writer has used language in the beginning to create effects. He has used words such as cursed and dangerous which creates a mood of tension and fear. The writer has used a variety of short sentences for impact. This is because short sentences help create fear and excitement. The setting of a story is important because it determines the mood of the story, whether it is fear or humour. The monkeys paw is set in the white’s family home late at night.

The writer uses adjectives to create a mood of tension. A typical setting in a Victorian ghost story might include a cemetery or even sum sort of factory. This setting in the monkeys paw is typical of a Victorian ghost story. The short story writer has to capture the reader’s attention with an effective opening and then has to make sure they keep their attention throughout. In the novel, the monkeys paw, the writer has more time for slower scenes as to much action would bore the reader. Also the reader may lose track of the story line and the reader would lose their interest in the story.