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Discuss the representation of the supernatural in H.G Wells Red Room and Susan Hills Farthing House.

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Introduction

English Course Work Discuss the representation of the supernatural in H.G Wells Red Room and Susan Hills Farthing House. In this essay I am going to examine the representation of the supernatural in H.G Wells Red Room and Susan Hills Farthing House. The Red Room was written in the 19th Century and is a good example of the Victorians interpretation of the genre of ghost story writing because it has stereotypical elements such as it being set in a castle on cold winters night. Conversely Farthing house is a contemporary story written in 1992 and therefore represents the relevance of ghost stories to modern times because the account takes place in a period that we can relate to. The supernatural is defined as something that cannot be explained according to natural laws, characteristics of something caused as if by a go, involving or ascribed to occult beings, exceeding the ordinary (abnormal) and supernatural forces occurrences and beings collectively of their realm. The cultural contexts of the two stories are obviously very different due to the times in which they were written and the differences in the way of life between the late 1800's and the late 1900's, however both share similarities in the representation of the supernatural and setting for example both stories contain parts which occur at night. The definition of the supernatural seems to me to be quite narrow. ...read more.

Middle

The images in the Red Room are seen through a first person view that makes the story seem more believable and personal. This all makes the imagery clear and easy to visualize. Red Rooms structure is made up of tension levels. Its steadily rises from the beginning of the story till the point where the young man bangs his head after which it then drops as the story is resolved. Farthing House on the other hand has a different plot. It starts with a young woman recounting an experience she has. She tells a story of what happened to her a few years before when she went to stay with her aunt in an old peoples home. Farthing House is a recount of a tale of something strange. Farthing house is also set in an isolated area. Therefore the setting of this modern story has many similarities with the Red Room. For example both supernatural encounters occur at night. Both places are geographically isolated. This is because both try to show a typical setting for ghost stories. The language in Farthing house is very different to that of the Red Room. It is a lot more modern than the Red Room (a result of it being written so much later) and it is written as an epistolary. The effect if this is that it makes you feel more involved in the story and makes it more personal. For example 'I have never told you any of this before'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is because whether a ghost actually exists in The Red Room is always in question unlike Farthing House in which the ghost is of a woman who died there a long time before but has lingered in the house as a sad presence. I think the representation of the supernatural in The Red Room is more successful than in Farthing house because the fact that you cant see the entity makes the reader create his/her own spirit/ghost. This makes it seem more sinister and as a result more successful as a ghost story. I do not believe that the ghost in Farthing House would have lingered just to give people a sense of sadness. I preferred The Red Room more than Farthing House because I like the dramatic style of H.G Wells as opposed to Susan Hills modern day suggestive style. Farthing house is written to make the reader think about the stories ending and what the moral actually is it can be interpreted in a number of ways. I do not feel this is an effective way of putting a message across and telling a story. I feel ghost stories are still relevant to a twentieth century audience because they can teach us lessons on life and how to be careful with it. People also liked to be frightened. Ghost stories will always be liked because readers are comforted by the suggestion that there isn't just a void after death and that there is something afterwards. Readers also like to be horrified by what they can not explain as it excites them. Sathesh Srishanker 10LO ...read more.

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