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Compare and contrast 'The Old Nurses Story' by Elizabeth Gaskell and 'Lost Hearts' by M.R. James discussing theme, plot, character, narrative structure, use of narrator and variety and effectiveness of language

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Compare and contrast two of the 19th century mystery stories you have read starting which you prefer and why. In your essay you should discuss in terms of theme, plot, setting, character, narrative structure, use of narrator and variety and effectiveness of language 'The Old Nurses Story' by Elizabeth Gaskell and 'Lost Hearts' by M.R. James are both 19th century mystery stories, so naturally they have similarities due to them both having the same genre but there are some ways in which the stories differ. 'Lost Hearts' is about a young girl called Rosamond aged about 4 or 5 who is orphaned and so has to go and live with her elderly Aunt, Miss Furnivall at Furnivall Manor. One evening the nurse left Rosamond with Miss Furnivall when she went to church. When the nurse returned she couldn't find her, the nurse followed some footsteps in the snow and found Rosamond in the arms of a Shepherd frozen in the extremely cold weather. The nurse takes Rosamond home and asks where she has been. She told the nurse a girl told her to follow her but the nurse didn't believe her as she only saw one set of footprints in the snow. ...read more.


The houses both have wings on each side of the house and both houses have lots of windows. Also a church appears in both setting, there is one situated in the grounds of Aswarby Hall and one within walking distance at Furnivall Manor. The setting also has some differences though, Aswarby hall is situated in a flat park in Lincolnshire and Furnivall Manor is situated in front of the fells in Northumberland. Both Rosamond and Stephen's parents died and both go and live with relatives. Both Rosamond and Stephen are not frightened when they see the ghosts. Rosamond is 5 years old and is taken care of by her nanny and Stephen is 12 years old and doesn't have a nanny. Rosamond is a caring person and is upset she can't help the phantom girl. She is also extremely impressionable as she leaves the house and goes with the phantom girl. Stephen is quite level headed and is not particularly upset when he finds his nightgown is ripped with claw like marks. Mr. Abney is interested in pagan religion where as Miss Furnivall is a Christian but makes her prayers at home as she is far to ashamed of what she has done previously in her life to go to church. ...read more.


When the nurse is actually speaking it is in more dialect and colloquial 'mighty proud I was' 'and proud enough was I' giving the effect of a more conversational tone. Figurative language is used for description such as the description of the organ 'looked so brave and fine' this figurative language is describing the organ in figures of speech making the description more realistic to the reader. Dashes were used by the writer to build up fear about what was about to happen to Miss Furnivall this builds up intensity in a cumulative way. Miss Furnivall's death was quite dramatic she was 'stricken down by the palsy' a fit of trembling, paralysis, she then put her face to the wall and muttered an extremely powerful ending 'what is done in youth can never be undone in age' this is repeated for effectiveness. The effectiveness of this ending is excellent it almost sums up the whole story in a few words, it also assures the reader that Miss Furnivall is truly sorry about her behavior. Both stories have equal good point and bad points and each story is original in its narrative and characters. So I conclude this report to say the idea of the story is the same with revenge been the main focus but there is a lot of differences that make each story have its on identity. Jennifer Airey SZ ...read more.

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