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

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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.

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