Victorian Ghost Stories Essay

Victorian Ghost Stories Essay

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Victorian Ghost Stories

This essay will try and find a formula, after reading a selection of
stories and focusing on these to discover the formula. The stories
were ‘The Ostler’ by Wilkie Collins (1855), ‘The Red Room’ by
H.G.Wells (1896),’The Signalman’ by Charles Dickens (1866). To try and
prove there is a Victorian structure or formula to the stories, they
need to be analysed. This essay will analyse how effective the
openings of the stories and will discuss the techniques of the various
authors to create an effective ghost story. By way of using a modus
operandi- also called a formula. The stories are very alike, so this
leads us to believe a structure does exist. At the time of the stories
publications, it was the Victorian era of Britain. Queen Victoria was
on the throne and it was a time of new advances in technology and new
inventions, also a time of British expansion across the globe. The
stories are therefore slightly influenced by this background to when
they were written. This essay will analyse, Victorian influences as
social division, advances in technology and the Victorian interest in
the supernatural.

The openings are designed to grab the reader and make them carry on.
It can also influence the reader whether to feel the opening emotions
and feelings of the story. The stories this essay is dealing with, all
start in the middle of a scene. This immediately makes us wonder what
has happened so far. It’s as if we have eavesdropped on the stories,
only to catch a part of it. Really, because the start of story starts
randomly, we feel perplexed by it. Another interesting point is that
the stories all use a first ...

... middle of paper ... But to get a good atmosphere you need a good
structure, and vice a versa.

In conclusion, I think Victorian writers did follow a formula when
writing. But this formula is just the things that make a gothic story.
So all they would have to do was to follow the gothic principles. This
was noticed in all the stories analysed. But due to the modern (at the
time) setting of the railway in ‘the Signalman’, means today a reader
may not find it as intimidating as a Victorian reader. It does use,
however, some of the gothic traditions. Such as ghosts, curses and
senses of the supernatural. The stories are effective as mystery and
ghost themed stories. I can see this because of the use of gothic
themes. Overall, they use gothic values, but the authors use different
settings, while at the same time use the same techniques.

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