• 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. In all of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, the theme of alienation is portrayed at ...

    it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life" He indicates that he is aware of the force of violence, which has ended the grandmother's alienation as she is confronted with reality through aggression.

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

    mans death which adds to the eeriness of the atmosphere: "the first man had three wishes but the third was for death. That's how I got the Paw". When the man from Maw and Muggings appears, he is hesitant outside their house wondering whether to enter or not.

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

    rocks from the coast (so that her husband can return safely), she would love him. The supernatural in this lay is when Aurelius meets an Astrologer, whom he pays to make an illusion that the rocks have disappeared. Aurelius goes back to Dorigen to claim his reward.

  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. A Comparison between 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas ...

    Rhoda's cottage was on a 'lonely spot' and 'lay apart from that of the others'. In 'The Signalman' the setting was 'solitary and dismal' and 'this great dungeon'. Information is withheld so that it makes the reader want to read on and gets them thinking about what is going to happen next and why.

  2. How do the Authors of At Least Two Short Stories Create and Atmosphere of ...

    By picturing this nebulous figure in you mind you can sense the paranormal atmosphere the author has developed. 'there was something in the man that daunted me.' Supplying limited information about why the man was daunting provokes uneasy curiosity. When the Signalman describes the vision he saw the author uses violent vocabulary to enhance the fear.

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