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Comparing two short stories -The Superstitious Man's Story by Thomas Hardy and Night Fears by L P Hartley.

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Comparing Two Short Stories - The Superstitious Man's Story by Thomas Hardy and Night Fears by L P Hartley Thomas Hardy lived between 1840-1928. He was brought up in Higher Brockhampton in Dorset. New technological developments were appearing all over the country, like railways and development of industry. As these wonders hadn't reached his part of the country yet, they still believed in country folk traditions and superstitions. Thomas Hardy liked to use these superstitions in his writings. The background to The Superstitious Man's Story is about a man who is travelling home on a stagecoach. He's been away 25 years and while travelling, is being told stories by the country folk. L P Hartley (1895-1972) was a well-off child as his father was a solicitor. He was educated at Harrow and Oxford. He liked to deal with the difference between reality and what people think is reality. He also liked using symbols in is stories. The Night Fears story is set after World War One when fewer people believed in ghosts, but what was scaring people was what was in their own minds. A scientist, Freud, was a psychologist and he had shown that such fears and paranoia could come from within us. ...read more.


The Superstitious Man's Story is told with a country west dialect because the author, Thomas Hardy, was brought up in the West Country. So it is very accented, eg: "Came near'ee", "me o't". But the Night Fears story is in standard English as the author, L P Hartley, went to Harrow and Oxford University. Night Fears is very descriptive; it describes feelings and the characters involved in the story - "He could not make up his mind whether he liked it's light." "His thoughts were few but pleasant to dwell on,..". The Superstitious Man's Story is just as descriptive but in a different way; it describes physically what it happening rather than what is going on in someone's head. For instance: "...the bell that was ringing for church went very heavy all of a sudden..." " While she ironed she heard him coming downstairs". The effect of the way they use the descriptive language is that the stories are much more exciting. The Superstitious Man's Story is meant to be told as an oral story. I can tell this because the story starts and ends with speech marks. A narrator tells the Night Fears story. He is someone not involved in the story but is just telling what happens. ...read more.


In the first story, The Superstitious Man's Story, it was obvious that William Privett would die. With the Night Fears story, the story ending I was expecting (that the stranger would be doing the killing) did not happen. The stranger did not turn round which gave me the impression he must have looked bad/evil/hideous. This made me expect he was going to kill the Night Watchman himself. The way the story ends made me feel very excited because it was new and different. This shocks you and you remember the story much more. I enjoyed the Night Fears story the most because I like the idea of having a ghost or monster which, in fact, is in your own mind. This prospect means that anything is possible in the story. The other thing that is interesting about this story is the fact that the first part lulls you into a false sense of security. Then in comes a mysterious character, which won't turn round to face you, which tends to make you think something is going to happen. Then the bit that tops the story is the suicide; the fact that you were expecting the stranger to be doing the killing. Then the stranger just steps over the body, twice, without even flinching or getting help. All these points together made a very short but exciting read. ...read more.

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