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Compare and Contrast 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy, And "The Call" by Robert Westall As Ghost Stories.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy, And "The Call" by Robert Westall As Ghost Stories 'The Withered Arm', and 'The Call', are both ghost stories. 'The Withered Arm' was written in the 1800's, but was set in 1819. 'The Call', by Robert Westall, is a much more modern story. The atmosphere in 'The Withered Arm' is also older than 'The Call', due to the social and historical background. Women's roles in 'The Withered Arm' were somewhat poor. They had husbands because it was good at the time for men to be seen with a woman at their arm. Often, the men did not love their partners, as they would frequently drop their current one for a newer model. At the time of the 'Wessex Tales', and 'The Withered Arm', people believed in ghosts and witchcraft, as there was no science to explain why things happened, that meant they relied on ghosts and the supernatural as a method of explaining things. At the time of 'The Call', less people believed in the supernatural, as they had science to explain things. This means, Hardy, of 'The Withered arm', would have found it much easier to convince his audience of the ghost, as more people believed in the supernatural. Westall, of 'The Call' would not have found it very easy of the ghost in his story, as at the time it was written, there were very few people who believed in the supernatural and witchcraft. ...read more.

Middle

This would be as because at the time 'The Withered Arm' nobody would ever believe that there could possibly be ghosts in the town, as the town was to upper class for things such as ghosts. However, at the time of 'The Call', the town is not such an upper class place, so it is accepted that ghosts are there. The motive of the ghost in each story is another factor of difference. In 'The Withered Arm', the motive of Rhoda cursing Gertrude is jealousy. Rhoda is jealous that Farmer Lodge has dumped her, and that he has now got a new woman who is clearly much younger and prettier than she is: " - that the young wife, in the pale silk dress and white bonnet, but with features shockingly distorted, and wrinkled as by age," Here, she is seeing the apparition of Gertrude, where she 'overlooks' her. She is seeing Gertrude, as she is herself. Old and wrinkly as she is, and so Lodge will dump Gertrude, just as she was herself. However, Rhoda did not know she had the power to overlook someone until this moment. The motive of the ghost in 'The Call' also seems to be revenge, but in a different form. At the end of the story, we are told that Agnes Todd (the ghost) rang up the Samaritans office on the night of her death and Harry picked up the phone. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, prolepsis and analepsis help to create suspense in both stories. In 'The Withered Arm', there is two major climaxes - the first being when Rhoda actually overlooks Gertrude, and the second being at the end when it is found out that it is to be Rhoda's son who cures Gertrude: "... Rhoda, in a last desperate effort, swung out her right hand, seized the confronting spectre by its obstructive left arm, and whirled it backward to the floor, starting up herself as she did so with a low cry" In 'The Call', there is only one climax which is built up to at the end, where Meg is lead to her death by Agnes: "And beyond Meg, another back, another woman's back. The back of a woman who limped. A woman with a dog A little white dog...For some reason... nearly ten yards away. No danger... a break in the white fence... limping woman turned through it... and like a sleepwalker, Meg turned to follow." In conclusion, I think that there are many similarities and differences between the two stories, but I believe that the biggest difference is the different genres of the two. I believe that there are two different genres in these stories, because of when 'The Withered Arm' was written. As there is no actually ghost, the story is not as effective a ghost story as 'The Call' is. This may be because of when it was written. Maybe at the time it was written, it was effective as a ghost story. 1 Nicholas Goodman 10.1 JAH 4 1 ...read more.

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