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In the following essay I will be comparing two books from the ghost story genre: "The Red Room" written by HG Wells in 1896 and "Farthing House" written by Susan Hill in 1992.

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Introduction

06-10-02 English Comparative essay James Smith In the following essay I will be comparing two books from the ghost story genre: "The Red Room" written by HG Wells in 1896 and "Farthing House" written by Susan Hill in 1992. Howard George Wells was born in Kent in 1846. He did well at school and went on to University getting BSC in Science. He wrote over a hundred books in his life including "The Time Machine", "The Invisible Man" and "The War of the Worlds". Unlike some writers he was very popular in his own lifetime and was very wealthy by the time he died in 1946. Susan Hill is an award winning author who was born in Scarborough in 1942. She has written many books such as "A Change for the Better" and "Strange Meeting". Her most famous book is "I'm The King of the Castle" which she wrote in 1970. Her books are mainly aimed at children and she is currently married to Stanley Wells a Shakespearian actor. In "The Red Room" an arrogant young man arrives at an old Castle to disprove claims that it is haunted. ...read more.

Middle

The house itself doesn't have the same gloomy atmosphere as the Castle in The Red Room and its description is not nearly as detailed for the most part: "Farthing House was well run warm and comfortable". The two stories are also set differently in terms of time. The Red Room is set in around 1896 and exclusively at night whereas Farthing House occurs in 1992 and takes place both at night and in the daytime. 06-10-02 Comparative Essay Pg.3 James Smith Creating a gloomy or spooky environment is one way to build up the atmosphere in a "ghost story" both for the characters in it and for the readers. This method is used extensively in The Red Room where we are given a graphic description of the narrators' eerie journey to the room. "The long draughty subterranean passage was chilly and dusty and my candle flared and made the shadows cower and quiver" Every flicker of the candles and shadows is mentioned and the young mans own feelings are also comprehensively described. His sense of fear is slowly but surely increased, in conjunction with our own: "I resolved to make a systematic examination of the place at once and dispel the fanciful suggestions of its ...read more.

Conclusion

06-10-02 Comparative Essay James Smith Farthing House was written a mere decade ago in 1992 and therefore uses a modern vocabulary with modern meanings. The syntax is alternated between long and short sentences and has much simpler punctuation. This serves two purposes; firstly it is much easier to read and secondly it is a more effective method of building up tension. After all it is difficult to create a feeling of unease in someone if they are struggling to understand what you're writing. The endings of the stories are very different as well, in terms of how final they are. In The Red Room things are fairly much wrapped up whereas Farthing House is much more open ended with the twist at the end giving us an impression that there is still more to happen. The Final thing the stories have in common is that by modern standards neither is very scary and there are different reasons for this. The Red Room was written in 1896 when people were much easier to scare due to a lack of things such as television and cinema and the fact that the existence of ghosts was much more credible in those days. Farthing House on the other hand is probably aimed at younger readers who are more easily frightened (Susan Hill mainly writes for children). ...read more.

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