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Compare how two authors use the elements of a ghost story in 'The Old Nurse's Story' and 'The Darkness Out There'. Which text do you think is the most effective and why?

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Coursework Poonam Paw-10E Compare how two authors use the elements of a ghost story in 'The Old Nurse's Story' and 'The Darkness Out There'. Which text do you think is the most effective and why? A ghost story is a story intended to scare and entertain. They are almost like horror stories; the only difference is that they aren't always gory. They are told in many different forms, books, theatre and also in films. Ghost stories have been significant for 100's of years, and are a very popular form of entertainment. There are many different types of ghost stories, however I am going to look at only two main types. I will study a contempary ghost story, and compare it with a 19th century ghost story. Although both these stories are written at different periods of time and are distinct, they share some similar ingredients. They usually consist of supernatural occurrences, bad weather, strange noises, nighttime and isolation. All these conventions are combined together to make ghost stories effective. They create an eerie effect, and send shivers down our spines. The two stories that I will compare are called 'The Old Nurse's story' by Elizabeth Gaskell, and 'The Darkness Out There' by Penelope Lively. The 'Old Nurse's Story' was first published in 1850. ...read more.


This area was scary. 'You didn't go there by yourself', not even for a 'thousand pounds'. It was 'nasty, creepy'. People were 'scared stiff' of 'Packer's End'. When children were younger they believed that 'witches, wolves and tigers' existed there. That was until they found out about the 'German plane that had came down after the war', and an 'aircrew was killed there, people had heard them talking, still chattering in German.' At the end of 'Packer's End', there is a cottage, 'Mrs Rutter's cottage'. Both stories are narrated to young children by old female characters. 'The Old Nurse's Story', is narrated by a nanny, and is told to the children, which she looks after. She seems to know a lot about the family history. Therefore not only does she share her story with the children to inform them about their family, but also to entertain them. 'The Darkness Out There', is narrated by a old 'cottage loaf women', who 'seemed composed of circles, a creamy smiling pool of a face, and eyes which snap and dart.' Already we can judge 'Mrs Rutter's' character, we are made to feel that this woman is not as nice as she seems. She seems snidy, and very crafty. We can sense 'darkness', this is very symbolic. ...read more.


Soon we understand that 'Hester', the narrator in 'The Old Nurse's Story is not telling the children the story with the intention to scare, but is informing them about their family. 'Mrs Rutter', narrator in 'The Darkness Out There', is totally different. She is very ill minded, she tells the children the story to scare them so that she can gain entertainment by watching them terrified. In other words, she scares children for pleasure. I think 'The Old Nurse's Story' is the most effective story. Although it contains all the typical ingredients, it does scare. The setting, weather symbolism and usage of ghosts combined together make it a very effective 'ghost' story. It creates tension, suspension, and a startled atmosphere. It also leaves the audience intensified. I didn't think 'The Darkness Out There' was a very effective ghost story. To be honest it doesn't even seem like a ghost story. Ghost stories are supposed to contain mysterious events, ghosts, and supernatural occurrences. 'The Darkness Out There' doesn't scare the audience it just leaves them with a moral. That is never to stereotype people. It doesn't scare. I think ghost stories are effective because of the typical ingredients that they contain. A ghost story isn't a story without spooky occurrences. The idea of listening to a ghost story is to be scared. 'The Old Nurse's Story' creates this effect, and therefore I think it is the most effective. ...read more.

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