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Compare the way in which two writers, from different centuries, adapt the genre of the ghost story. Comment on which you think is most successful and why.

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Introduction

Compare the way in which two writers, from different centuries, adapt the genre of the ghost story. Comment on which you think is most successful and why. The two ghost stories "The Call" written by Robert Westall in 1989 and "The Superstitious mans story" written by Thomas Hardy in 1894, both create suspense and mystery to engage the reader's attention though they have been written in different centuries. When Westall wrote "The Call" in 1989-some 100 yrs after "The superstitious mans story" was written, society was much more doubtful about the truthfulness of the issue of ghosts and therefore the story would have to be more persuading over its realism. Ghost stories provide us with different ways of thinking about death and dying. They help us explore our uncertainties about the supernatural and whether there is any form of life after death. Ghost stories use our fear of death and the unknown to create suspense in the reader. ...read more.

Middle

In the call the first sign of oddness occurs when Harry Lancaster the Samaritan who is sick is determined to make his Christmas eve call, one in which he has made for decades on end without problem. This begs the question- why is he so eager to get there? "He tried dosing himself with all kinds of things; swore he was still coming. Was desperate to come", a complication arises when Meg answers the first call of the night from a lady "He's going to kill me. I know he's going to kill me" this is the first sign of death in the story, and this is important because death is a very typical ingredient of a ghost story. Before the first call both Meg and Geoff are happy and jolly because of it being Christmas Eve," It was just happiness", but after the call, the cold voice of the woman makes Meg and Geoff feel frightened in a way, "Meg put the phone down wearily, and suddenly shivered". ...read more.

Conclusion

The superstitious mans story ends with the death of William Pivette and the supposed sight of him dying at the same place where his son died. When William Pivette died a mill moth flew out of his mouth as to symbolize his soul escaping. The sight of William dieing at the same place as his son symbolizes him missing his son and wanting to be with him. From having read both stories very carefully I feel that "the call" by Robert Westall is better, it creates more suspense and mystery for the reader. "The call" also seems more genuine as it has modern day possessions mentioned in it for example the telephone, which created most of the drama. Both of the stories make the reader want to read on and learn more about the characters but the authors of both "the call" and "superstitious mans story" leave the readers guessing. The "superstitious mans story" seems too short to create much tension or suspense unlike "the call" which has modern day things like the telephone mentioned in it which creates plenty of tension. ...read more.

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