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

Examine three different ghost stories; how successfully have the authors involved the readers in their story? Which story seems to make the best use of suspense?

Extracts from this document...


English Coursework Examine three different ghost stories; how successfully have the authors involved the readers in their story? Which story seems to make the best use of suspense? The three ghost stories that we have examined are 'The Signalman', 'Turn of the screw' and 'The Girl I Left Behind Me'. 'The Signalman' is a short story written in 1866 by Charles Dickens. 'Turn Of The Screw' is a novella written in 1898 by Henry James. 'The Girl I Left Behind Me' is another short story written in 1957 by Muriel Spark. There are two characters in 'The Signalman', himself and the narrator. The narrator meets the Signalman at a railway cutting and is strangely received by the Signalman. The narrator returns the next day to here the Signalman's story. The Signalman tells him of the haunting that he has been experiencing recently at the cutting. The spectres seemed to foretelling a tragedy that is going to occur. Previous prophesies have turned out when a woman dies at the cutting and it is just time before the Signalman's death comes just as predicted. The Signalman is articulate in that he explains everything clearly. For example he describes things in such clear detail it was as if he were commentating on it. One example is on page 172 the paragraph beginning, 'One moonlight night,' he goes on in such detail- '...and (I) ...read more.


It involves the reader in a clever way; he does it by making the reader feel part of the group that Douglas is talking to as a friend. You feel part of the story, and you get the same suspense that the friends get when he doesn't have the story and you eagerly want to here the story due to the build up. The build up to the story lasts eight pages and it is surprising that James can hold the reader for that long, it's all due to the skill of James building up the suspense. James can also control your thoughts by what the other friends are saying and they help to build up the suspense. The importance of the constant deferral to Douglas' narrative is that it gives effect. James uses suspense all throughout the story one good example of this is the last three paragraphs of chapter two. Mrs. Grose is describing the death of Miss. Jessel, 'But our young lady never came back... she was dead...but please Miss...(putting off the conversation)...I must get to my work'. James uses lots of unpredictability's to make the reader feel vaguely uneasy. The Governess turns out to be the wrong person for the job. She has come from a poorer background, and she has obviously not had experience in being a governess but she is young and keen to prove herself to her employer who has a crush on her. ...read more.


Once the reader is into the story then the originality of the story makes it gripping and involving. James uses the governess to involve the reader by using the first person narrative. James wrote it at a time when country houses were common and it would relate to them well. They would be involved by the possibility of them being in a similar situation. The Girl I Left Behind Me also uses ambiguity to involve the reader. It seems uncannily strange that she should be having a normal day yet the reactions of those around her are very strange. Spark writes in a way that involves the reader by not spending much time describing tedious detail. She writes for her era and the setting would be common and not be boring to the reader. She uses suspense cleverly by switching between two scenes; this means that the reader seems to be moving along with the story and not stuck in one place. I think that the Turn Of The Screw involves the reader the best because of the way in which James writes so captivatingly. I think that The Girl I Left Behind Me uses the best use of suspense because of the constant movement in the story between paragraphs, which make the reader read through each paragraph to get to the next one to find out what happened. We keep reading through the story to find out what is going on due to the ambiguity giving suspense. 1 Timothy Dry 10R ...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. The Old Nurse(TM)s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Signalman by Charles ...

    Just like the narrator, Hester, we want to find out the answer to each mystery. This is also the case for The Signalman as the narrator is very curious about some of the things he is told by the signalman such as the appearance of the hallucinatory figure and it saying "Halloa!

  2. Discuss how suspense is created in the ghost story "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens

    We as readers wonder why? This natural wonder creates great uncertainty. When the narrator does return the signalman tells of his troubles with the "spectres" and of his past experiences with them on the line. He also tells of the memorable accident on the line.

  1. Explain what makes a good mystery story based on your understanding of three of ...

    parlour of Laburnum Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly." The atmosphere inside is warm, cosy and is a desirable place to be. By way of contrast, however W.W. Jacobs describes the isolation of the Whites' external environment using negative images, it is, "beastly, slushy out-of-the-way place(s)

  2. In your study of ghost stories, what have you learnt about the ghost story ...

    Little lady's hand, with a reddish look about the finger-nails." The ghost in the inexperienced ghost does the complete opposite of the other two as eventually it ends up killing Sanderson because of its carelessness. Sanderson scares the ghost in this story and then when Sanderson helps him remember his

  1. The Ghost Story - The Old Nurse's Story, by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Axe, ...

    The Axe is set at night-time, in a deserted office block, which immediately provokes thoughts of fear and isolation. "The early cleaners will not be here for seven hours..." This enhances this feeling, even though the office block is in the middle of a populated town.

  2. A good ghost story must contain suspense and tension - discuss

    In 'The Canterville Ghost' he doesn't achieve this as each time he creates tension it is interrupted by humans as the author brings in humour. This story, unlike Dickens has a wide range of 'rich' vocabulary whereas Dickens uses negative adjectives (depressing ones)

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

    Good technique. This is further backed up with the use of statements like 'The monstrous thought...' '...This was a spirit, not a man.' '...Infection in his mind.' This again gives us unanswerable questions as well as the deliberate mystification that is a characteristic of the story.

  2. Dickens ghosts. Malevolent or Benevolent

    Furthermore, "if the tall dark man married the widow, he would sell off everything and run away, she would be ruined and I would be out in the cold" declared the old gentleman. This shows that the old chair is stating the negative points in order to secure his own

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