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How do the Authors use the Ghost Story Genre to Provoke Fear in the Reader?

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Introduction

How do the Authors use the Ghost Story Genre to Provoke Fear in the Reader? The dictionary definition of a ghost story is "A story having supernatural or frightening elements, especially a story featuring ghosts or spirits of the dead." According to www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_story, ever since human kind existed, they respected and feared spirits of mountains, woods, animals, rivers and of the basis of those beliefs the creation of ghosts were not far away. Especially when villagers were around the campfire fearing the unknown creatures of the darkness, and telling their fears to each other, scaring each other to believe false facts. Each culture has their own favourite/feared ghost stories and especially at night almost everyone respects and fears them in their own settings. www.jb.man.ac.uk/~agg/ghosts/ states that the most recent developments in the ghost stories was the authors selling their ghost story books where the most realistic sounding stories backed up by real places would give the reader a more genuine feel and authentic overview of the ghost story. Much like the Gothic tradition of ghost stories that were very popular as they had features of being a genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. But this was made unpopular quickly as it was over written and read a lot by the Victorians and went "out of fashion" quickly. ...read more.

Middle

When the doctor asks why the waiter "smiles to himself in a rather strange way", this makes the reader think that there is something supernatural within the inn and adds to the typical expectation of a ghost story. Also, when Collins describes Isaac he makes it seem as if he is a tortured soul as he has a "withered, woebegone face. Eyebrows painfully contracted" and his mouth "drawn down at the corners" and his "hollow wrinkled cheeks" and "scanty grizzled hair" all showing his "past sorrow or suffering". This is likely in a ghost story to have a character that is suffering and in pain and provokes fear in the reader to wonder what will happen to him later on in the story. In the second installation of story the Ostler is given an identity "Isaac Scatchard", this makes it more personal to reader to know exactly who is being talked about. Isaac is described to have "bad luck" the reader will expect that something paranormal will happen to him. Although an interesting thing about Isaac is that his mother is actually above her class status as she is considered a "lady" as she is kind, wise, polite, helpful and speaks like a perfect lady. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lodge's gentle knock", "her smile to tender" and "a gown of light material". This makes the reader calm down from the harsh descriptions of the incubus and settle down and think about the light colours that are being described, but then as soon as Gertrude leaves "a light seemed to have gone from the dwelling", this provokes fear into the reader as something frightening is expected to come when light is gone even though it is morning and not the time expected to be afraid. I thought that this story was more fear provoking as more supernatural experiences happened which made it more interesting and even thought the narrative viewpoint was more believable for "the dream woman", the structure and the twist at the end of "the withered arm" was more interesting and cleverly thought out. I also thought that as a modern reader it made it more frightening to think about being so far back in time and imagining such a huge judgement in social classes, whereas the Victorian reader would find this a normal thing to judge people on their social class, much like "the signalman" by Dickens as the narrator was surprised to find that the signal man was educating himself even though he was low class. This is different in modern day which makes the whole theory much more strange and undesirable. ...read more.

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