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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 1488 words

Compare and contrast;"The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Compare and contrast; "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Are they typical of the ghost story genre? "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman are both critically commended famous ghost stories from the 19th century. These author paved the way for a new breed of ghost story, the psychological thriller. Both texts prey equally on creative minds, leaving the reader to eventually decide the fate of the principal role. From a historical viewpoint, the subject matter could well be seen, as ahead of their time, yet they are also strangely typical 'Victorian' tales. These stories do have some of the typical elements of ghost stories. There is a distinct supernatural element in both "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. However they are definitely not cliché. In most ghost stories, there is a hero and a villain, and lots of "spooky" things going on. "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman have small elements of eeriness but on the whole they are more sinister and disturbing than just plain scary! Most ghost stories have several "typical aspects". There is almost always a creepy setting, such as a 'haunted house'.

Middle

The third is that she has simply gone mad. In "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe, there is a slight "spookiness" near the end, when the murderer hears the beating of his victim's heart. It is at first described as "a low, dull, quick sound - much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton." This immediately makes the reader wonder what the noise is. This makes it slightly eerie, in that it is an unfamiliar sound, from an unknown source. However, it soon gets beyond scary and starts to become sinister as the sound is revealed to be the beating of the victim's heart, despite the fact he is already dead. This is a different way of raising questions in the minds of the reader. Another is to indulge in a large amount of description. This doesn't as much make the reader question the text, but makes them visualise the person or object that is being described. If the description is good enough, the reader momentarily forgets about the story and dedicates their whole mind to envisioning the picture in their minds eye. This gets the reader more wrapped up in the story and they therefore enjoy it more. Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses this technique in "The Yellow Wallpaper" when Jane is describing the wallpaper. "I never saw a worse paper in my life, one of those sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.

Conclusion

The style of the writings is different aswell. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is in a journal form, but "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe is more of a flashback, written in the past tense. There are then more material differences, mostly to do with the plots. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman s set in the country, and Jane sees her ghost. She is also married. In "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe the murderer lives in the town. He hears his victim's ghost, and he is not married. The stories also have completely different outcomes. I think that both "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe are not particularly typical ghost stories, but they both have different aspects that are characteristics of ghost stories also. "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe is more of a ghost story than "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, but it is still not very cliché. "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe actually involves some sort of ghost, in the old man who was killed, but the woman in the wall in "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman isn't necessarily a ghost. Taken as a whole, both stories are excellent pieces of writing that are extremely original and almost, but not quite ghost stories! English Coursework Jennie Bain 10DE

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