Tuesday, April 5, 2011


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In this essay I am going to be comparing two ghost stories called “The Farthing House” and “The Red Room. My definition of a ghost story is a story filled with tension and suspense.

I will start by looking at the settings from both stories. The farthing house is set in a residential home for elderly people, in the countryside. The red room is set in an old castle where a duchess died 100 years earlier. Both of these settings are good settings for a tense ghost story but the castle is a more stereo-typical setting.

I will now look at the characters in each of the stories. In the red room the main character is the narrator. It uses first person narration which creates tension on its own, as we are seeing everything through his eyes. We don’t know what’s happening either and we follow everything that happens to him. Also the arrogance of the man builds tension, as it sets you up to think something bad is going to happen to him. You also see his fear slowly build up. The old people also create tension and unease immediately. Their warnings about the room create tension and put the idea into your head that the room is definitely haunted. “It is your own choosing,” said the man with the withered arm. //////////////// This quote is used several times to emphasize that what he’s doing is nothing to do with them. The hideous appearance of some of the characters also creates unease. In the farthing house the narrator is again the main character. The story is told again in first person perspective. Another character is Mrs. Pearson. “She was younger than I had expected, probably in her late forties.” She appears to be very nice but this makes you feel that something just isn’t right. Aunt Addy is another character who seems to be very nice. “I sat bolt upright. The previous night I had the sensation of someone having just been in my room.” This shows that she is starting to show signs of fear in the room.” The main similarity between the two stories about characters is that in both, the main character is the narrator and you see everything from a first person perspective.

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I will now go on to talk about the structure in both stories. In the red room the initial setting and expectation is set up very early on with the old peoples warnings and the setting itself. After that though things start to slow down. The tension starts to slowly build up, with the slow and gradual loss of light inside the room, and the continuous references to past incidents inside the red room. This story is written in the past tense but the detailed description in precise detail of every moment cant help but make you think your there, going through the ordeal with him. In the conclusion you find out that there is no ghost in the red room. Its simply fear. This makes you think about how powerful fear can be, and what it can do to your mind. In the farthing house the tension is much more up and down, unlike the continuous rise in the red room. “I’d seen a jay and two deer, and once, like magic, a kingfisher.” This is not tense at all but on the very same page you get this, “as I turned right and the road narrowed to a single track, between trees, I began to feel nervous, anxious, I prayed that it would be all right.” This suddenly creates a lot of tension in the story. But then, as soon as she arrives, things start to relax again, with the home being as nice as Aunt Addy has said, and Mrs. Pearson being very polite and nice. The setting is firstly described to be very nice but the narrator can feel something sinister, “as I stood on the black and white marbled floor of the entrance porch I felt something else and it made me hesitate before ringing the bell.” This creates a lot of tension as it makes you feel that something must be up. Even when the ghosts visit they are inter-cut by jovial events which remove the tension. “That feeling of unease and melancholy passed over me like a shadow again. Now buck up, don’t look wan, there isn’t time.” In the conclusion………….*. The structure of these stories is very different, the main difference being that in the red room there is a steady rise in tension, but in the farthing house the tension goes up and down like a yo-yo.

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