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Ghost stories

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Introduction

Ghost stories help us to explore the idea of an afterlife, focusing mainly on death and dying. These stories usually use our fear of death and what happens when we die to build up an atmospheric scene and to build up suspense in the reader. They also explore our feelings of what happens to us when someone we love and who is important to us dies. Ghost stories are often related to the time and place where a person may have had a very violent death, this can take on a symbolic significance to relate back to the dead. As many ghost stories are hard to believe, the writer often uses various ways to help us imagine and believe them by often writing in the first person and usually including their own personal experiences. They can also use the build up of tension in the story to help us explore the idea of an afterlife. In The Signalman, a man (the narrator of the story) is walking beside the embankment of a railway line. He notices the signalman below him, and greets him by calling out "Haloa, below there." However, the signalman does not appear to notice the man. When the man walks down to converse with the signalman, he is surprised to discover him strangely afraid of the words that he shouted, "Haloa, below there". ...read more.

Middle

However, if you thought the definition of a ghost story was a story that was frightening or contained spooky activities, than you would think that they were both ghost stories. The stories have similar purposes although there are many differences. Obviously, both writers set out to earn a living from their work. Aside from this, Crossing Over was written to help people explore the ideas and question people about the existence of an afterlife. Catherine Storr, as a psychiatrist and a writer, probably wanted to explore the phenomenon of the human psyche. She tried to do this by making us believe we were seeing events through a normal human's view point, when in fact, we were seeing them from a ghost's view point. She could only reveal this at the end of her story if she wished to create an intense atmosphere and a surprised response from her reader. In contrast to this, The Signalman by Charles Dickens was written for very different reason. It gives a very biased opinion of how unpleasant the railways were in Mid-Victorian Britain. Railways were a relatively new phenomenon. Many people were opposed to the idea arguing that railways would ruin the countryside and ruin their way of life. They were considered noisy, dangerous and polluting. ...read more.

Conclusion

Before arriving at a conclusion about which story best fits the ghost genre, it is necessary to define the features of a ghost story. The definition of a ghost story could be a story that features a ghost, such as Crossing Over by Catherine Storr. However, the definition of a ghost story was could also be a story that was frightening or contained chilling activities, such as The Signalman by Charles Dickens. I think 'The Signalman'; by Charles Dickens is the better story. It seems to have more substance and builds up the atmosphere in a more dramatic way Crossing Over. This is probably because it describes things using a larger amount of details, as well as using words that build up the atmosphere. By doing this, the atmosphere of the story is exaggerated to create tension in the readers. In contrast to this, the other story is not frightening, but has a ghost for a different reason. As I said before, I do not think that the story was written to be a ghost story or to scare people. Instead, it was probably only written to explore around the ideas of the existence of an afterlife. However, after it was written, it fell under the classification of the Ghost genre because it has a ghost included in the story. ?? ?? ?? ?? GCSE Coursework 1 ...read more.

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