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Evil and Innocence: Children in Ghost Stories by Elizabeth Gaskell, M. R. James, and Susan Hill
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The essay analyses three works of supernatural horror fiction written by different authors over various periods of time. These three works are “The Old Nurse’s Story” by Elizabeth Gaskell, “Lost Hearts” by M. R. James and The Small Hand by Susan Hill. The argument of the essay is that all three stories diverge from the conventions of Gothic horror stories by including a child in the role of victim and ghost. This makes the stories more frightening since they challenge the reader’s expectations of children’s innocence. In order to discern how the stories diverge from the norm the essay explores the traditional conventions of the genre such as setting, narrator, the structure of the time-frame, the buildup of mystery, the observer of the ghost, the ghost itself, and finally the visitation. In the end, the essay finds that all three of the analysed stories fit the formula of a conventional Gothic horror story, using similar methods for building up suspense and fear in the reader. Moreover, all three enhance the effect through the combination of evil and innocence in the children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 44 p.
Keyword [en]
Ghost story, horror, children, Elizabeth Gaskell, M. R. James, Susan Hill
National Category
Specific Literatures
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105351ISRN: LIU-LÄR-EN-A--14/002--SEOAI: diva2:706101
Subject / course
Educational program
Teacher Education
Available from: 2014-03-20 Created: 2014-03-19 Last updated: 2014-03-20Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, Johan
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