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Comparing two pre 1914 ghost stories to show how the writing creates and sustains tension. The two ghost stories that I have chosen are, "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens and "The Old Nurses Story" by Elizabeth Gasbell.

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Year 10 Coursework Eren Kemal "Compare and Contrast two pre 1914 ghost stories and show how the writers create and sustain tension." In this essay I will be discussing and comparing two pre 1914 ghost stories to show how the writing creates and sustains tension. The two ghost stories that I have chosen are, "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens and "The Old Nurses Story" by Elizabeth Gasbell. The two writers have very different writing approaches "The old Nurses Story" has a slow pace which means that the tension builds over time. This story is also more hyper-bowl by this I mean everything is much more unrealistic. However "The Signalman" has a more realistic storyline, because they realize the ghost in the story ends up being a normal person. The pace in this story is almost the opposite of "The Old Nurses Story" because it goes in a slow then fast motion. So this story does not have one big climax like the other story, but it has small outbursts made by tension. The narrator in "The Old Nurses Story" is the Nurse. ...read more.


The setting of "The Signalman" is set on a train station. A train station is a very mood changing place. By this I mean, at one point of the day it is a very busy and energetic place but then at another point of the day it becomes a lonely, scary and ghostly place. The reasons it becomes a ghostly place is because there are many noises in a train station which can easily frighten a scared person. The characters in "The Old Nurses Story" are either extremely nice people or conniving evil people. Straight away you get a sense if a person in this story is good or bad. The narrator in this story also acts as a part of the story, as the story is being told as a past experience. All this adds to the mystery of the story because you want to know why this Nurse is telling this story and why are these people being split into two group's bad/good. The reason I find is that it is all there to sustain tension right to the end. ...read more.


Then the noises happen "and filled our ears; we, too, heard voices and screams". This makes you remember that the story has a ghostly plot and that the secrets are about to unravel. In comparison the plot of "The Signalman" has the ghostly effect throughout, because in the Victorian times they believed religiously that there were supernatural elements to the world, the signalman automatically thought that the strange voices he was hearing were supernatural. To conclude I think that "The Old Nurses Story" creates and sustains tension by using the factor of true life story and by leaving many unanswered questions in your head that were to be answered in the end. So in comparison to "The Signalman" where the tension is not all released at the end, in this story the tension is created and released in small clusters. Therefore because these two stories were written in the early 1900's the factor of ghosts and supernatural elements were always playing tricks on peoples minds and that was what happened in "The Signalman" it was just tricks on the signalman's mind. So it was the factor of the setting, the person who was telling the story, the way they created there tension and the way that the stories were written that made the writing create and sustain tension. ...read more.

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