Ghost Stories Essay

Ghost Stories Essay

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Ghost stories are a truly timeless form of literature, the ghost, like death, has no end. Stories of the supernatural date back to early ancient manuscripts involving mythology, legend, and religion. The past few centuries have seen the supernatural flourish in Gothic romanticism through tales of fantastic creatures, demonic forces, and parallel dimensions (Scarborough). Interest in the other-worldly has provoked many stories involving the interaction between the living and the returning dead. The well-engineered ghost stories of M.R. James seem to arouse these eerie skin tingling feelings. Techniques aimed at involving the readers awareness James's narrative and folkloric superstitions in “the mezzotint” engage the reader's imagination and psyche. The realistic settings, supernatural elements, and sensational fiction that is doused in mystery, builds anticipation. James's clear an intelligent knowledge of human nerves elicits fear, excitement, and curiosity through imagery, the uncanny, and subtle suggestions that transform into personal supernatural experiences. The oratory nature of James's stories bring the characters and the drama to life and constructs fear in the reader with disembodied texuality; “fearing that these words on the page might spring to life” (Mulbey-Roberts 236).
In contrast to supernatural Gothic tradition, James's short stories shy away from the elaborate romanticism and concentrate on basic elements of fear such as realism and victimization. The narrative style of James's “The Mezzotint” is similar to the original delivery of his ghost stories. With elements of direct speech and candid conversation the narrator awakens the readers awareness by controlling and regulating the flow of information similar...


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...t no man wish's to be buried on the north-east side of a churchyard for it is Hells corner (48).
Another popular superstition or tradition that can be found in today's culture is the number three. The number appears several times in the story and James's small attention to detail adds to the mystery. Sayings like “all things thrive at thrice . . . and encouragement . . . to try the third time . . . will say that the third's a charm” or “a coroner never comes once but thrice”(Opie,Tatem 403). Gawdy is executed and returns for his persecutors, Francis's, only son. Francis is found dead on the third anniversary of his sons disappearance, having just completed the mezzotint, with all three dead and the climax coming to an end James ensures that a residual effect from the fear continues with the narrator stating that the picture still hangs in Ashliean Museum.


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