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The Use of the Supernatural in the Three Stories: The Withered Arm, The Red Room and The Monkey's Paw

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Introduction

The Use of the Supernatural in the Three Stories: The Withered Arm, The Red Room and The Monkey's Paw These three short stories, 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy, 'The Red Room' by H.G. Wells and 'The Monkey's Paw' by W.W. Jacobs were all written during a period of time when the supernatural was becoming less believed, during the Industrial Revolution. The supernatural was a feared belief throughout the years leading up to the industrial revolution; during the industrial revolution there were many new scientific and technological discoveries which lead to people slowly abandoning their ancient beliefs of the supernatural. These stories including the supernatural were at the height of popularity before the Industrial Revolution. When these three particular short stories were written, many people no longer believed in typical supernatural elements, such as: ghosts, witches, ancient curses and demons, however because the Industrial Revolution had only just began and people do not change beliefs over night, many people still believed slightly in the supernatural. These stories were therefore appealing to the people of the time. The supernatural used in each of three stories is different. ...read more.

Middle

This shows the connection between gloominess and supernatural, the quote goes on to say: 'the wind howled dismally', this describes the wind as not only behaving in a human manner but also as 'howling', howling can be linked to werewolves which are supernatural animals often used in stories to portray the supernatural. Sound is another way in which the supernatural can be portrayed. An example of sound portraying the supernatural is in 'The Red Room': 'the door creaked on its hinges'; a creaking sound is often related to the supernatural because old things creak, it is similar to being disfigured. Tension is another important feature which is used to portray the supernatural in the three stories. An example of tension being used to create a feeling of the supernatural is in 'The Monkey's Paw', when Mr White is scrambling to find an object but it is panicking, 'He went down in the darkness, and felt his way to the parlour, and then to the mantelpiece. The talisman was in its place, and a horrible fear that the unspoken wish might bring his mutilated son...' ...read more.

Conclusion

Though each story has a very unique and different outcome, each features the idea of the supernatural; each has an element of horror. Each has a slightly uncertain ending. The ending in 'The Withered Arm' is a twist; the ending is unexpected, which is the similar in 'The Monkey's Paw. The ending in 'The Red Room', however is different; tidy and can be speculated. Though these endings are not the same, they are all sad or uncertain which is the same throughout all gothic fiction novels. This also adds an element of the supernatural because they end shockingly, yet pessimistic. Another way in which the stories and similar is that they all fit into the gothic fiction category, each has morals. The morals in 'The Withered Arm' is marriage, vanity and love, in 'The Red Room', Distortion and imagination and superstition versus reality and logic. The moral in 'The Monkey's Paw' is greed, the family used a magical object to get what they wanted, but though they did get what they wanted, there were bad consequences. There is never a happy ending in a story about the supernatural. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kira O'Sullivan ...read more.

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