Compare H.G. Wells' The Red Room And Farthing House By Susan Hill

1546 words - 6 pages

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

"There was no mistake about it. The flame vanished, as if the wick had
been suddenly nipped between a finger and thumb, leaving the wick
neither glowing or smoking, but black." Ghost stories use dark and
fear of it as a key element, and most occurrences happen in the night,
and/or in the dark.

The aim of this essay is to compare and contrast the two short stories
- The Red Room by H.G. Wells and Farthing House by Susan Hill. The Red
Room was written pre twentieth century and Farthing house was written
post twentieth century. I will mainly look at the formulaic structure
of the stories and the tension that is built up throughout them by the
authors.

A good ghost story involves a mixture of tension and an interesting
plot or storyline. The formulaic elements - e.g. old
houses/graveyards/other sinister settings, threatening
housekeepers/guests/noises, staying overnight, dark/night, threatening
weather (e.g. storms, thunder) and a death/previous ghostly history
all help to create the genre and entice the reader to continue
reading. There should be twists in the story, to help make it more
interesting, and less predictable. There is also often a lot of
mystery involved - mysterious key characters, unknown noises and
people etc.

The Red Room is a pre-20th century story, written by H.G. Wells in
1896. It is about a room that is allegedly haunted and the story is
told by a young man who is spending the night there. He starts off
extremely confidently but as the story goes on he becomes more and
more frightened and the tension increases. The Red Room is about the
personal experience of the young man whilst in the room, and his own
fear of the dark and what might happen in it.

Susan Hill wrote Farthing House in 1992. It is about a woman who is
writing to her daughter about an experience in her past and is not
scary, more sad and touching. The story is about a ghost which has to
find something before it can leave earth. The ghost was in the room
she stayed in at her Aunt Addy's retirement home. At first it scares
her, but then she realises that it is the ghost of a woman whose child
had died when the place was a home for mothers and their illegitimate
babies, and that the ghost was looking for its baby.

Both Farthing House and The Red Room are written to a formula. The
formulaic aspects include setting, people, staying overnight, and
history of the setting.

The Red Room is set in an old castle, in the dark, at night. Farthing
House is set in an old house, where all the occurrences happen in one
room, at night, in the dark. The Red Room has three mysterious
housekeepers, who add to the fear of the young man - "It's your own
choosing" whereas Farthing House has a strange room, which is too big
for one person and automatically made the writer - Mrs Flower -
nervous, the previous occupant had recently died, and she felt it was
to big...

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