• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What are the important characteristics of an effective ghost story?

Extracts from this document...


What are the important characteristics of an effective ghost story? Gothic horror is a genre that has remained popular throughout history. The genre originally came about when books were introduced with castles and they were based gothic architecture, art and poetry- thus the genre was given its name. It's a lot more than just the locations; gothic horror tends to include trap doors, insanity, crumbling buildings, ancestral curses and strange events. Gothic horror has influenced a lot of modern day films and books and was even a big impact on the Victorians- they were big lovers of short, macabre tales. It is said that Charles Dickens read them as a teenager and they influenced the gloominess in his works. Three examples of gothic horror stories are: 'The Red Room' by H. G. Wells (1896), 'Farthing House' by Susan Hill and 'The Axe' by Penelope Fitzgerald (1970s). 'The Red Room' is an interesting title that conjures up many images in the readers minds. The use of the colour red can create images of blood, danger, passion, love, anger, stop- most of which are appropriate for the ghost story setting whereas 'Farthing House' does not have the same effect. It can create the image of perhaps an old, gothic house but is not particularly strong. It almost gives no clue as to what the story is about. ...read more.


He is becoming uneasy and quite afraid. He even says he 'fancied' he heard a rustling, which is a definite sign of fear if he can hear things that aren't even there. He 'stands rigid' with fear also in parts and he reaches for the revolver in his pocket. Now, obviously this shows the narrator not to be as brave as he makes out to be. 'Farthing House' has a character who also begins as very strong and level-minded, but she remains this way throughout the story. It is written mostly in the past tense but has parts at the beginning and end that are present tense. She never pretends, at any point, that she is not afraid of what she has seen, but does try to rationalise events. This can be seen when she hears the sound of a baby crying but then decides that 'the noise had come from the television then'. She often makes references to the fact that she did not actually know what was going to happen, which proves that she is a reliable narrator. She says that 'it would be too easy to claim that' she 'had sensed something sinister' and that she had been 'shrouded at once in the atmosphere of a haunted house'. ...read more.


In ''The axe' the story comes to a climax at the end with the man locking himself in his office and the ghost of Singlebury in the other room. The fact that he describes Singlebury as having 'eyes that were thickly filmed over' adds to the fear in the end and yet the last paragraph is somehow comical to think of a man locked in his office refusing to leave. The most important elements of the gothic horror genre are suspense, clues and well-defined characters. Usually these are strong, or seemingly strong, characters. They almost certainly have a twist or major climax at the end to leave you reeling. All of the above three mentioned stories involve old buildings with a history of a depressing nature. 'The Red Room' is the story that I believe to be most successful. Though I did not think so at first, under closer analysis I have found that it has some wonderful language and use of language throughout which gives it the creepy factor that it needs. The other two are successful in their own rights but 'The Red Room' has more description and seems to be a bit deeper. It seems to be the most typical ghost story but in reality they all have strong elements of the gothic horror genre throughout. ?? ?? ?? ?? Loren Macdonald Created on February 26, 2006 Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE H.G. Wells section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE H.G. Wells essays

  1. Gothic Horror

    Said Herbert White, cleverly'. Also the way in which the representative behaves, signals to us that he is a bearer of bad news, ' She was watching the mysterious movements of a man outside, who, peering in an undecided fashion at the house, appeared to be trying to make up his mind to enter'.

  2. This essay is going to illustrate how 'The red room' by H.G Wells and ...

    'And in a rush I remembered...' The example shows, how yet again, Susan Hill makes the reader inquisitive and persuades them to read on. Susan Hill also uses the second paragraph to create negative atmosphere as she sets the scene. A good example of negative atmosphere that is created in the 'Farthing House', is when she

  1. Narrative poetry is much more than a series of interesting tales. Do you agree? ...

    Throughout 'The Highwayman' poem there is reference to light/dark contrast, it says, "darkness" or "dark" in most paragraphs or there is a reference to dark or black clothing. There is also many mentions of 'moonlight', 'twinkle' and 'jewelled sky', this giving the impression on the strength of dark and lightness changing drastically depending on where you look.

  2. Short Story discussion of

    In "The Monkeys Paw takes the form of one object, But in contrast to "The Red Room" the paranormal takes the form of many different object and sound. Mr White asks "What's so special about it"; the Sergeant says "It had a spell put on it, by an old fakir, ` a very holy man.

  1. Compare 'The Red Room' by H G Wells with 'Farthing House' by Susan Hill ...

    He chooses not to reply to the Old Woman when she says this, in an argumentative way, instead, he dwells on thoughts. He has a very arrogant, matter-of-fact tone about him, and the audience want him proved wrong. During his journey to the Red Room, his nerves start to take over his initial attitude.

  2. Comparing the works of Susan Hill- 'Farthing house', and H.G Wells- 'The red room'.

    Together with the conventions of a ghost story, language devices and very detailed setting description, Susan Hill and H.G Wells have produced two very different stories, which use the same conventions, and share the same theme. 'The red room' by H.G.

  1. The story of 'Farthing House' was written quite recently. The story was written in ...

    The story was written in 1986. The story has quite a number of parts where it is all about tension. This has quite an effect on the reader. The story features quite a number of things that a typical ghost story should have e.g. Old deformities ' I half suspected the old people were trying to..'

  2. Discuss how the authors of ‘The Red Room’ and ‘The Farthing House’ create tension ...

    That creates tension because everybody who reads the story will feel nervous about the fact if it could happen to her it could happen to anybody. The narrator of `The Red Room' is an arrogant and bold young man who claims he has an open mind about the existence of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work