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Comparing two short stories, "The Withered arm" and "The Monkey's paw", discussing what part the supernatural plays in each story

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Comparing two short stories, "The Withered arm" and "The Monkey's paw", discussing what part the supernatural plays in each story Introduction The supernatural has always been popular from medieval times to the present day. The supernatural is a word that describes something above natural. The supernatural is something which is not logical or explicable. People are very interested in it, as they do not know what to expect. Supernatural stories are strange, and people do not see such things in their everyday lives; they may want to get away from their normal lives by escaping into literature. The supernatural appeals to people's imaginations. It also tries to give explanations about powers above the force of nature. People also like being scared and the supernatural gives them this adrenaline rush. The supernatural has a definite literary tradition and this tradition goes back to medieval times from the story about Beowulf. Though the supernatural is different according to period and place, when people did not have medicine or such advanced scientific or technological knowledge they were more superstitious. Authors choose to use the supernatural because it interests people and therefore it sells. Also the supernatural is a vehicle in each story and this creates suspense. The supernatural allows the author to be more innovative and illogical and it helps him to create interesting circumstances, in which the characters interact and are affected by each other. ...read more.


As soon as Gertrude puts her arm on the dead boy's neck her blood suddenly changes "the turn of the blood had taken place." Though when she sees Rhoda with her husband and Rhoda tells her that it is their son's funeral, Gertrude just fell down on the floor needing help on the feet of her husband "when her husband lifted her up she was unconscious." Gertrude died before anyone could help her. This scene is fast paced as it is with long sentences and shows the same contrast shockingly as in the other story, with long sentences with commas. The turn of blood helps us to imagine Gertrudes' movement and the pace of these few paragraphs in the story don't allow us to pause for breath. There is a scary and spooky atmosphere when Gertrude puts her arm on the dead boy as we anticipate something above the normal to happen and then the story goes a bit chaotic until it later calms down in the end. In these ways the supernatural element holds our interest. The supernatural is fundamental to the plot in both stories and is incentive to read on to see the consequences. In both stories we want to see what the characters' reactions will be from the supernatural. In "The Withered Arm" what interests us in the beginning is the relationship of Rhoda, Gertrud Lodge and Mr Lodge even if this interests us we want to know what will happen when something beyond the natural affects them and how their reactions will be. ...read more.


The monkey's paw was from Asia and this makes the paw more of an unknown object. The supernatural has always been and still is very popular, but it changes over time. Once the main element within the supernatural were ghosts and potions but now the supernatural is more about U.F.Os and little green men from different planets and dimensions. The supernatural has always been very popular and it will always be. In both stories "The Withered Arm" and "The Monkey's Paw" it played a very important role and we saw this through the characters' reactions. The supernatural is a tool for the author to play with and it helps the author, as it lets him to be more innovative and it's an easy way of introducing a theme or message. In "The Withered Arm" the supernatural is a fundamental part of the plot and it changes the relationship between the people. The supernatural will continue to interest people, as long as we question our very existences. I think that Thomas Hardy the author of the Withered Arm used the supernatural most efficiently because he just does not simplify the story like in "The Monkey's Paw," but he makes the story long and interesting using more effective language. He creates a real atmosphere in places where the reader becomes scared and unsure. Thomas Hardy made use of not only the supernatural, but of peoples' feelings towards each other resulting from the supernatural, which makes the story more realistic. ?? ?? ?? ?? 5 ...read more.

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