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The differences and similarities between 'The Red Room' and 'Farthing House'

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Introduction

Guillaume Wright 10C2 13/10/00 Essay : The differences and similarities between 'The Red Room' and 'Farthing House' (Page 1) 'The Red Room' by H G Wells (1896) and 'Farthing House' by Susan Hill (1992) are two short ghost stories written in different centuries and in different styles. Both stories have similarities and differences in different areas such as language, atmosphere and setting. I will look at these similarities and differences and analyse them, deciding why they are present and what effect this has on the story and the reader. I will analyse them separately and I will also compare them and decide which one I think is the most effective and why. The openings of both stories are very different from each other and use contrasting styles. 'Farthing House' takes some time to build up, and there is more of an introduction to it and the narrator begins by talking a bit about the situation, "Now it has all come back to me, I do not want to let it go again, I must set it down." This tells the reader that she is remembering the event and writing down from her memory, whereas in 'The Red Room' the reader is plunged straight into the action with no build up or introduction given, "And I stood up before the fire with my glass in my hand". This is the second line and puts us straight into the action and on the set. Another major difference in the respective openings of the stories is that 'Farthing House' is presented as a flashback, told by the narrator, and 'The Red Room' is told ...read more.

Middle

As she sees the ghost by accident, at first she does not believe that it's a real ghost, "....what on earth were they thinking of to put her and her bed in my room while I was asleep" suggesting that the narrator believes that it's not a ghost at all but a woman. Although she is frightened she still reacts calmly to the ghost and even feels sorry for it, "I felt that she needed me in some way" and "I felt inconsolably hopeless and sad" both suggesting that the narrator is still uncertain of whether the figure is a human being or a ghostly apparition. I'm sure the narrator would have had not quite such strong feelings for the figure and probably would have panicked a bit more or would have at least been more frightened. The narrator even manages to muster up the courage (spurred on mainly due to her overwhelming melancholy feelings towards the ghost. In contrast the narrator in 'The Red Room' is on a vigil to find the famous ghost of the red room at Lorraine Castle and is very aware of its history and therefore this creates tension and suspense even before he sees the ghost, "....surveying the scene of my vigil" tells the reader that the narrator is out on a mission to prove whether or not the famous 'Red Room Ghost' actually exists. When the narrator actually sees what he believes to be the ghost he becomes hysterical, as he knows about the ghost's and the room's past, and this has created massive amounts of tension in the narrators mind, and this influences his ...read more.

Conclusion

After the experience, the narrator in 'Farthing House' feels sorry and is sympathetic towards the ghost, because they both have something in common; they are (or were) both mothers, "I was not afraid any more....poor pale, distraught young thing, she could do no harm" is suggesting that the narrator has thought about the events and has perhaps even made the link between the ghost and the graveyard and can sympathise with the ghost's plight, and this makes the narrator more at ease with herself and she even mentions that "I slept well that night." In comparison the narrator in 'The Red Room' changes drastically after the experience, and he loses his arrogance and I believe that he was cut down to size by his own inexperience and the haunting event that took place. The narrator is still very frightened and is very shaken the experience, "Fear, it followed me through the corridor, it fought against me in the room" suggests that he now knows that he imagined the ghost all himself and is now not so confident and has had some of his premature arrogance and self-confidence that he had at the start drained from him by the experiences and he even communicates with the people that at the start he described as "undignified custodians" and has gained respect for them and the powerful forces of fear. Both stories are in the 1st person and so allows the reader to connect more with the storyteller and get a first hand view of what the different experiences must have been like for the narrators. ...read more.

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