Tension is again created because the readers too become curious about the name Harry. Similarly, in “The Superstitious Man’s Story” the opening also creates suspense around the main character, William. The opening lines of this short story introduce us to William. From the way in which he is described to be “a curious, silent man, you could feel when he came near ‘ee; and if he was in the house or anywhere behind your back without your seeing him, there seemed to be something clammy in the air, as if a cellar door was opened close by your elbow” by doing this it is almost as if the narrator is introducing us to a ghost-like character.
Thus by analysing the opening lines of both short stories’ one can see that both authors are using conventions that constitute a ghost story. In “Harry” it is used to achieve a tension with regard to Harry and in “The Superstitious Man’s Story” it is used to create a feeling of suspense surrounding William.
“The Superstitious Man’s Story” is set in Wessex, like many of Hardy’s novels. The story moves around the town, from their home to a church and finally to the mill. This allows us to glimpse into rural life in the 19th century – a very different world from today.
Thomas Hardy wrote with a specific purpose in mind. He wrote to record how the folklore and basic rural life was like, because he knew that with the rapid progression of industrialisation, social life would change and through his writing his aim was to preserve that.
“Harry” is set in London in modern times. The story moves around many urban areas, including the house, a hospital and an adoption agency. One story is set in rural life, one in urban life, one in the nineteenth century and one in the twentieth, but they both deal with ghosts and this is still relevant in both eras.
Both stories have very different language styles, as we would expect with over fifty years separating their creation. Rosemary Timperley uses Standard English throughout her story. It is fairly uncomplicated and is clearly expressed to the reader. Her style is quite descriptive, for example, “golden shadows and long strips of sunshine in the garden. ” She also includes personification, for example, “The sun struck me like a hot blade. ” Also the repetition of the phrase “Harry. Such an ordinary name,” reiterates and emphasises her fear of Harry and the unknown.
In contrast, Thomas Hardy uses Wessex dialect, the language of his era thereby bringing the reader to notice how the language has changed, for example, “you could feel when he came near ‘ee. ” Through the use of the accent we can tell the story is quite an old one and enables us to appropriate the speech patterns of the local people at that time. The dialect and accent convey a sense of authenticity to the story that is specific to the time and place unlike “Harry” which is almost anonymous in its ‘universal’ language style.
Rosemary Timperley creates a certain amount of tension in “Harry” by use of short and sharp sentences, for example, “Harry! Don’t take her away! Come back! Harry! Harry! ” Rosemary Timperley also uses alliteration to enhance the readers’ imagination, for example, “Sunshine, Sharp shadows on grass”. In “The Superstitious Man’s Story” Thomas Hardy creates tension by mentioning things related to superstition, for example the superstition surrounding the heavy bell, “the sexton, who told me o’t, said he’d not known the bell go so heavy in his hand for years and he feared this meant a death in the parish.
” As it’s set on Midsummer’s Eve, the superstition is that whoever goes into the church will die within the next few days. This is the destiny of William. Tension is also built by the unknown whereabouts of William, his wife claiming he had left and hearing the footsteps on the stairs but him still being there. And so questions appear in the readers’ mind – they ask themselves what is happening and why and thus Hardy creates curiosity, mystery and tension for his audience. Tension is created through a different means in “Harry. ” The exact time or place of a person’s death can make a symbolic significance.
Rosemary Timperley uses the time convention of her ghost story to alarm Mrs. James when she hears the clock strike three she suddenly realises she needs to pick Christine up from school “A clock struck three. At three o’clock I was supposed to be at the school gates, waiting for Christine” this further intensifies fear for her and the reader, as it is Christine’s first day at school and we know by now that ‘Harry’ is not a benevolent ghost. The short panicked sentences used when she realises Christine maybe in danger creates tension too. Thomas Hardy used time to confuse Betty.
She sees William leave, but when she goes upstairs she realises she had not seen him return. He also uses time when William is seen in two places at once. This is near the end and leaves the reader with an unfinished story and the option to wonder what else might happen. Time also proves that the sightings happen simultaneously. It gives proof that William was in fact a ghost. In “The Superstitious Man’s Story” Thomas Hardy does not dwell on the passing of William because of the superstitions shared amongst the people seems to be that death is inevitable. This is because the story was written pre 1920’s.
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