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

Discuss the characteristics of horror stories with reference to at least THREE you have read in The Tales from Times Past anthology.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the characteristics of horror stories with reference to at least THREE you have read in "The Tales from Times Past" anthology. You should consider: * Style, technique and tone * Language, setting and characterisation * Openings, creation of suspense/intrigue * Use of the supernatural * And anything else you feel as relevant In this essay I intend to discuss the distinguishing features of three horror stories in "The Tales from Times Past", namely "The Monkey's Paw"; "The Old Nurses Story" and "Hurst of Hurstcote". This collection was written over one hundred years ago and has a strong religious element. I would like to start by considering the importance of atmosphere and setting in each of these short stories. Isolation is regularly used and symbolises the absence of assistance nearby which makes readers feel nervous when help is needed. In "Hurst of Hurstcote" the house is set far away from anything else; "It lies in the hollow, ringed round by its moat, its dark red walls showing the sky behind them." Also in "The Old Nurse's Story" the house is hard to escape from and difficult to see, "The road went up about two miles", "with many trees close around it." Similarly in "The Monkey's Paw" the house is also remote, "That's the worst of living so far out." ...read more.


The use of suspense is an essential element in any horror story. One method writer's use for creating mood is secrecy. In "The Old Nurse's Story" there is a lot of mystery which creates secrecy, "If I show it you, you must never let on." This statement inevitably leaves the reader wondering why and wanting to know more. "I wished I had never been told, for it only made me afraid more than ever." This creates tension as we find out there is something awful that happened and therefore we want to find out what it was. In "The Monkey's Paw" the character does not want to explain what happened which gives the notion of anonymity, "Nothing...Leastways nothing worth hearing." Unfinished mystery is often used to create suspense. It also helps generate more interest and encourages the reader to read on. In "Hurst of Hurstcote" the reader never finds out what Kate is going to say, "John would never - was always-." This generates concern and leaves us on a cliff-hanger. In "The Old Nurse's Story" shadows are used to build anxiety on account of the use of pathetic fallacy, "A black shadow fell into the snow." In the "Monkey's Paw" the number three is used, signifying evil which suggests tragic events are to come, "Three times he paused at the gate." ...read more.


Short sentences add drama building towards a major scene, it increases the pace and it creates more tension; "A shudder ran through him. 'I must go and see for myself,' he said. Then I knew - all in a minute - what to do." The use of question marks creates anxiety and intrigue. In "Monkey's Paw" they are used to build up to a major scene, "Where? Where is it? What's the matter?" In "The Old Nurse's Story" personification is used to describe the little girl, "Phantom Child" and "Spectre Child" making the character appear more mysterious. A supplementary characteristic of horror stories and one evident in each of the three stories is Irony. In "Monkey's Paw" the name of a character is, "Laburnum" which is ironic because it means poisonous plant and this fits in with the character. Irony is also used in "The Old Nurse's Story" with the name, "Miss stark" ironically portraying her character. In "Hurst of Hurstcote" it is strange how Katie became sick when the doctor was present and yet he still couldn't cure her illness. In "Monkey's Paw" there is a lot of irony as the characters meddle with fate, "I bet I never shall see it" and he never manages to see it because he dies. Additionally, "I expect you'll find the cash tied up in a big bag in the middle of your bed," and the money is replaced for him. ...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 Miscellaneous 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 Miscellaneous essays

  1. Is the Monkey's Paw an Effective Horror Story?

    It was essential for the author to create suspense before it is official about Herbert White's death, because this is the first statement of the powers from the Monkey's Paw. Firstly, the tension is built up through pauses in speech, 'I- was asked to call'.

  2. The Use of the Supernatural in the Three Stories: The Withered Arm, The Red ...

    Another meaning for darkness is that it not only displays a colour, but also a feeling and an atmosphere. An example of colour setting a mood in this way in 'The Withered Arm', is when Rhoda takes Gertrude to visit Conjuror Trendle, something bad is happening and the two are

  1. Sins of the Past

    Outside a missile sped toward the 747 at 500mph. It collided with the right wing and exploded with a ball of flame, the whole of Air Force One shook and the wing broke off. It nose dived toward the snow.

  2. one girl one dream

    I tip toed towards the wooden toy chest and climbed in. "open up!" demanded a strong deep voice, The woman opened the door to the strange dark clothed man. "on the floor, now!" he shouted again The did as he said, I couldn't see everything but I could see through a little hole in the side of the chest.

  1. With Close references to the texts you have been studying, explore how the authors ...

    This is shown by the protagonist when he comments on them as being 'grotesque custodians' which shows us that he thought they were bizarre people who were guardians of the property. The elderly people are trying to convince the protagonist into thinking that there are supernatural things happening in the castle.

  2. With Specific Reference to Language, Discuss how Short Story writers use the conventions of ...

    This anxiety, in turn, leads him "to form a kind of barricade." The idea that the narrator forms a "barricade" suggests that he is frightened and wishes to protect himself against, what he believes to be, a prevailing enemy. There is a complete eradication of confidence within the narrator, which was discernible at the beginning.

  1. Victorian Horror Stories

    The key theme for the setting in the horror genre is isolation. The solitary feeling encountered when facing danger alone is ideal when creating the appropriate setting and ambience for a horror text. In 'The Signalman', Dickens has deliberately chosen a dreary and remote setting combined with an isolated location

  2. Shylock, Victim or Villain

    Solanio and Salerio are biased against Shylock because he is a Jew and because they are friends with Antonio, 'Let me say 'amen' betimes, lest the devil cross my prayer, for here he comes in the likeness of a Jew.'

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