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

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

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Signalman 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 The Signalman essays

  1. Compare the two short stories, 'The Signalman' by Dickens and 'The Withered Arm by ...

    The calm atmosphere suggests that a supernatural event is unlikely to occur and therefore readers do not expect this to happen. The setting in 'The Signalman' is an eerie, portentous, and hostile area. It is described as a "depressing" and "dismal place".

  2. Which of the Two Horror Stories: "The Monkey's Paw" or "The Signalman" Do you ...

    Although, I also like the opening setting of "The signalman" as I find it very mysterious and this compels me to read on. Although the setting is not described great detail in "The Monkey's Paw", I still think it plays a central role in the horror of the story as

  1. Discuss the role of fairies and/or the supernatural in the medieval lay. You should ...

    the fairies when lying in a meadow or under a tree - particularly the ympe-tree described in Sir Orfeo. In Celtic tradition is it believed that those who lie or fall asleep under a tree or in a meadow place themselves in the power of the fairies.

  2. The supernatural has existed as long as human life.

    In both, the supernatural creates the sense of mystery through the author's use of pathetic fallacy, creation of mood, dialogue and suspension of disbelief. Cowles uses pathetic fallacy to increase a sense of danger in his description of the storm, so that when the hero is told that he can

  1. Discuss the effectiveness of the ghost stories by Dickens, Hughes and Rhys. Show some ...

    This is what makes it scarier. The second coming of the spectre also heralded a warning. The fact that a beautiful woman died makes it scarier somehow. I do not know why, and that is why it makes it scarier and more effective, the unknown. There is a further telling of the story again with all the suspense as before.

  2. The supernatural has always been a popular ingredient in literature. Looking at two short ...

    In "Macbeth" Shakespeare uses the supernatural to add fear and create a highly sinister atmosphere to the play. The witches are truly terrifying but it is not their powers that drive the plot; it is the hero's weak character. Two short stories where the supernatural provides the theme are "The Monkey's Paw" by W.

  1. Compare and Contrast "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens and "The Withered Arm" by Thomas ...

    After some time it becomes apparent that it is a signalman he is calling to, but the tension is increased by the way the signalman reacts to the other man's call, 'instead of looking up to where I stood,

  2. Compare and contrast the ways in which Dickens and Hardy use superstitious beliefs and ...

    by "This is the meaning of what Satan showed me in the vision! You are like her at last." The talk of 'Satan' adds to the supernatural and hellish feel and conveys the emotion and deep hatred Rhoda is feeling towards Gertrude.

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