• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Comparing Mystery Stories - "A Superstitious Man's story" by Thomas Hardy (1894) "Night Fears" by L.P. Hartley (1924).

Extracts from this document...


Comparing Mystery Stories Robert Inman Introduction I will be comparing two mystery stories, "A Superstitious Man's story" which is written by Thomas Hardy (1894) and "Night Fears" which is written by L.P. Hartley (1924). "A Superstitious Man's Story" is about a man named William Privett and his wife who live in a village, and one day as William was mowing in Mr. Hardcome's meadow with John Chiles, William Privett dies. All of the villagers believe his death to be a mystery because William was in very good health and his death was unbelievably sudden. The story is told by a member of the village community. The other characters in the story are :- Mr. and Mrs. Hardcome John Chiles Philip Hookhorn and Nancy Weedle. "Night Fears" is about a man who has a wife and two children and has taken on a new occupation as a night-watchman. Having only started two days previously, he is unused to night-work and the isolation it involves and is not sleeping well. A stranger arrives and talks to him, speaking about things that the night-watchman did not even tell him, e.g. "It's a pity you're under a contract to finish this job" The night-watchman had not mentionioned a contract. The Night-Watchman is eventually led to despair and suicide. The story is told by the writer and the other characters are:- The Night-watchman's wife and The Stranger The mysterious events in "A Superstitious Man's Story" are:- William Privett ...read more.


An explanation for William being noticed by the stream could be: William and John who had been sleeping for a long time before John noticed that William had died. Therefore, while John was asleep, William could have wandered off while still sleeping to the stream (because he seems to have a tendancy to sleep-walk). That means that he could have been at the stream, unconsciously, and back in time for John Chiles to not notice him being away. The Mysterious events in "Night Fears" are:- Who is the stranger? Why does he seem to know so much about the night-watchman? Why does he not show his face or respond to the night-watchman's approach? Why does the night-watchman kill himself? We do not know who the stranger is. The night-watchman only notices him when he turns around; "Someone was sitting on the barrier, his back turned on to the night-watchman's little compound. 'Strange I never heard him come,' Thought the man......The stranger paid no attention to the watchman's slowly advancing tread. A little disconcerting." Even when the night-watchman shouted "'A fine night.' The stranger did not turn round" When asked "Won't you turn and warm your hands" by the night-watchman, the stranger replies "I prefer to warm my back." This lack of interaction makes the stranger seem disinterested or, at worst, threatening. He does not reveal his identity, he appears to want to unsettle the night-watchman. ...read more.


In "The Superstitious man's story" William's death is so sudden "John called to him and said it was high time to begin work again. He took no notice, and then John went up and shook him, and found he was dead." Differences The differences in the two stories are great: "The Superstitious Man's story" is narrated by a villager to a villager in a rural setting. The story is very anecdotal involving a number of village characters and written in latter-day English; "Faith I didn't think whe'are 'twas Midsummer or Michaelmas: I'd too much work to do." The story contains evidence of superstition and religious belief. "Night Fears" is a modern day story in an urban setting and most of the dialogue within the story is inside the night-watchman's head. The characters do not have any names which makes the content darker and less personal. It is also set entirely at night and is secula and interested in psychological realism; "He enjoyed the thought that held his mind for the moment, but always with some aggreable impatience for the next." In conclusion the two stories are similar in that they involve the unexpected deaths of otherwise healthy working men in mysterious circumstances. "The Superstitious man's story" is almost like an old English fable, whilst "Night Fears" is a much bleaker, modern day suspense story. Although I enjoyed both stories, I prefered "Night Fears" because I could relate to the content of the story more and the writing of the story allowed room for your own imagination. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. Twelth Night

    We notice that both Olivia and Viola have to be independent women as the two have instantly lost their brothers and as well as their fathers. "O my poor brother, and so perchance may he be." (Act 1, Scene 2, Line 7)

  2. Sins of the Past

    "Are you okay Raymonde?" Adams asked. LeStrange nodded and offered a hand down to him, but retracted it when he saw a hooded figure creeping up behind him. "What is it?" Adams asked. He turned around to see the barrel of a silenced pistol pointing into his face.

  1. Horror story coursework

    any moment he may be immediately overwhelmed by his building up fear and panic. After a brief duration of time the candlelight's start to go off at several different intervals of time, which induce a sense of panic and fear on him.

  2. Revenge- A fictional story

    Why do you always have to be so rude?!' shouted Robert, trying not gain interest from the crowd. 'Dad, why do you always have to have a go at me?' unfortunately, Natasha did attract attention. Helen turned to Michael and he could tell from the look in her eyes that she trying to say, 'See what I mean?'

  1. Thomas Hardy Essay

    They felt loneliness and a sense of seclusion from always being in the home. Phyllis's seclusion also relates back to the rural society that Hardy himself once lived in. The appearance of women in the 19th century was also very important.

  2. In the silence of the night

    for ages, I could hardly make out what shape it was because there was only the moonlight half showering light on it from behind the oak tree that stood in the far east of the garden. That oak tree brought back many memories, memories of when I was a child

  1. How the writer creates interest in the story

    The author even suggests what will happen later on in the story, although you have to read between the lines to pick up on it. During the opening section Mr. White is playing chess with his son, but looses after making a "fatal mistake".

  2. Shades Of Grey- A Short Story

    A warm, bumbling woman, rosy cheeked but wrinkled, appeared at the door to the kitchen, knitting in her hands. She smiled when she saw him, and cupped his face in her hands, almost poking him in the eye with the knitting needles.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work