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In your study of ghost stories, what have you learnt about the ghost story genre and what makes an effective ghost story?

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Introduction

In your study of ghost stories, what have you learnt about the ghost story genre and what makes an effective ghost story? Ghost stories were first written in the bible, they carried on being written to convince people of life after death, and the continuation of the soul. This was believed up until the 1600's/ 1700's where people started questioning the stories and wondering whether they are true. Modern ghost stories raise questions about whether the soul continues life after death, as modern society is unsure about supernatural existence. The titles of each individual ghost story are important, as they are what give the audience the first impression. They give us clues as to what is going to take place in the story by the chosen words. The narrator in 'The Signalman' is used in good affect to add belief to the story. First person is used in stories such as ghost stories to make the story more believable as it is being told by someone who has actually been involved in the event that the author is tell the reader about. The story would be less believable if it was being told in third person because the actual true story could have bits added to it each time it had been told. ...read more.

Middle

In 'The dream Woman' the setting is also very traditional, In the story it quotes "a lonely road-side inn, standing on the outskirts of a thick wood." Again W.Wilkie Collins goes into great depth describing the setting. The setting in this particular story is engineered to create a scary atmosphere. 'Isaac went round with the landlord, and held the candle while the doors and lower windows were being secured. He noticed with surprise the strength of the bolts, bars and iron-sheathed shutters. "You see, we are rather lonely here," said the landlord when W.Wilkie Collins describes the shutters and bars, it makes the readers think that here is some kind of abnormal presence around the inn. This will create tension in the readers mind. In 'The Inexperienced Ghost' by H.G.Wells the time spent describing the setting is minimal, and this lack of detail shows in the overall effect of the story. 'The Inexperienced Ghost' is not a traditional ghost story as it has a comical theme, as if it was meant for young children to read. H.G.Wells only actually writes a couple of sentences describing the setting, which is an old fashioned gentleman's country club. ...read more.

Conclusion

'The signalman' comes to an ending where everything is solved and the words talked are "not only the words which the unfortunate signalman had repeated to me as haunting him, but also the words which I myself not he had attached and that only in my own mind, to the gesticulation he had initiated." On the other hand the 'the inexperienced ghost' ending is different as the main person in the story finishes the story off by saying "all I certainly know is that, in the very moment, in the very instant, of concluding those passes, he changed and staggered and fell down before us - dead!" Also 'the dream woman' has a different ending to the story when Isaac says "when anybody speaks to him about the one anxiety of his life; "she's looking for me." He may be right. To conclude my essay I am going to answer the original question. To make an effective ghost story you need an attention grabbing setting to get the audience interested whilst adding a great deal of tension to get the reader scared. Also you need to feature some lively characters and in places you need to add some cliffhangers dragging the reader to grab the next page eager to read on until the end. English Coursework Chris Barnard 997 ...read more.

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