Comparative Essay Essay, Research Paper
I have been given the task of comparing three stories of suspense in three different styles of writing. During this essay I will discuss the way each story is written, how and why certain effects are achieved and what elements contribute to the mood and suspense of the story. Finally, I will conclude as to which story I have found the most successful. An important thing to look at when studying a story, in my opinion, is the title. Titles of some stories give away the plots or endings, where others are completely abstract and thought provoking, providing no clue as to what the story will be about. Either “Frankenstein” or “The Raven” is the best title out of the three stories that I have read. They give away that the story is about someone named Frankenstein or a raven, but nothing else that would spoil the plot or ending. This is beneficial to the reader, who would be able to get more involved in the story as more of the plot unfolds, especially in a novel. The title “Man Overboard” tells us that the story is about a man falling overboard. At first I considered it could be a metaphor but after reading the story, I found that it wasn´t. A story with a title that gives away the plot has advantages and disadvantages. Giving away some of the plot could make someone interested and make him or her want to know how that certain thing happened, for example, how the man fell overboard. A lot of the time, that is not always what happens. In some cases, the plot is given away too much by the title, which makes the story less exciting and spontaneous for the reader. The three stories I read were in the form of a novel, a short story and a poem. This had a dramatic effect on the way I thought about the stories and how I could analyse them. The novel contained many characters and small plots scattered around a central story line. This made it very complex and hard to understand at times, which kept me interested because I was determined to understand the story. Eventually, all of the smaller plots merged into one as a result of the consequences of the larger one. The novel contained many different ideas and philosophies about valuable subjects such as life, death and religion. The short story contained one plot and one main character and was much easier to understand. The plot was described in a fair amount of detail and didn´t contain any ideas or philosophies like the novel. The poem was written in structured verses and contained a balanced amount of rhyme in each verse. It contained nineteenth century ideas about superstition and death which made it more similar to the novel, but only had one plot with one main character. “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley is a novel, which was first published in 1818. The story is written in the first person, told by Doctor Victor Frankenstein, himself. He tells us how he created a being from the limbs of other dead people, how he shunned the being because of its appearance and how he dealt with the consequences he had to face. Although “Frankenstein” is a nineteenth century story, Shelley uses many modern ideas and issues concerning science, philosophy and religion that are still relevant in society today to tell her story. The main plot in “Frankenstein” shows a developing world and highlights the rate at which our ideas are evolving. This is partly why “Frankenstein” is still such a successful story and is told in many different forms all around the world. “Frankenstein” is written in prose but contains verse in three instances to back up previous ideas and to communicate emotions more effectively. In chapter five on page fifty-seven, Shelley integrated part of “The Ancient Mariner”, by Coleridge, into the story to reinforce how Frankenstein was feeling after he had created the monster. “The Ancient Mariner” was a popular poem in the nineteenth century and contained the same sorts of ideas as “Frankenstein”. The story of “The Ancient Mariner” is set at sea and is about a man who was punished because he offended nature, which supports the same concept as “Frankenstein”. Using an extract from “The Ancient Mariner” also backs up the whole idea of the plot, as well as how Frankenstein was feeling at that moment in the story. Shelley also used part of Wordsworth´s “Tintern Abbey” to convey Frankenstein´s feelings when he was travelling to England. In the extract of “Tintern Abbey”, the words describe exactly how Shelley described Frankenstein to be feeling in the previous paragraph. By using poems from different writers in her novel, Shelley was able to show that similar ideas and emotions were being written about at that time, which made them more realistic to me. Also, using a wide range of sources based on the same idea Shelley wanted to express, she was able to create a very specific image that couldn´t be distorted by a different point of view. For example, some stories create different images in different people´s minds but using very specific ideas creates almost the same image every time, making the story stronger. Using poetic words has a very powerful impact on the meaning of the story, especially as the poems Shelley used were from the Romantic Period, which are all very expressive. Throughout the novel, Shelley uses letters from other characters to support Frankenstein´s story as he tells it. This is a good way to provide proof of such an unusual story and to provide an insight into the other characters´ points of view. Letters from an explorer, named Walton, written to his sister act as a prologue for the story. In his letters, he talks of how he encounters Frankenstein and how he is eager to hear his story. These letters provide a contrast to the way the rest of the story is written and set the scene for Frankenstein to tell his story. It gives Frankenstein a reason to tell his story because he has met someone who is very interested in it. The letters at the beginning are set at sea, which also coincide with the use of part of “The Ancient Mariner”. “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is a nineteenth century poem written in structured verses with many elements of rhyme. This story is also told in the first person, like “Frankenstein”, by a solitary old man who is visited by a raven one night and is literally frightened to death. The way this story is written in the first person helps the reader to experience the story for themselves when the repeatedly say ‘I´ or ‘me´. The structure of the verses contributes to the suspense in this story. The two repeated lines at the end of each verse are almost hypnotic in the way that they involve the reader more and more when they are read. It may confuse a reader into thinking that they have read a line twice. This puts them in the place of the character, who is also confused about the presence of the raven, which makes the mood of the story more effective. If the reader can experience the same emotions as the character in the story, they are able to understand what is happening to the character because they are going through the same thing, which again, helps them to experience and understand the story more effectively. The repeated lines also make certain parts of the story more evident to the reader. This is what Poe was probably trying to achieve when writing “The Raven”. He wanted important features of the story to stand out, so he repeated them. I have noticed that the second line and each set of repeated lines in each verse all end with an ‘ore´ sound. The way this rhyme links the verses together makes the story seem very continuous so it all makes sense. It helps the readers to involve themselves in the story because they will expect the rhyming patterns and get to know the story better. It may keep them guessing as to which word will rhyme next, which will keep them reading on as they develop more curiosity for the plot. If they want to keep reading, they are enjoying the story. The language used in “The Raven” links it very well to the period that it was written. Although “Frankenstein” was written around the same time, it contains less archaic English words than “The Raven” and is written in a very formal style of English, which would still be used today. Words such as “chamber” and “window lattice” put the setting of the story into context. These words describe a small, traditional periodic house that Poe wrote the story about. This helps the reader to think about the correct setting they should be imagining the story to be set in, which will add to the suspense because of the atmosphere a house like that creates. Words such as “Gilead” and “Plutonian shore” used to portray images of Heaven and Hell show that the story was written when there were different names for those places. The word “quoth” is used a lot in “The Raven” which shows it was a popular word instead of ‘said´ or ‘quoted´ in the nineteenth century. Lots of these words identify the poem as being written over one hundred years ago, which helps the reader to imagine the kind of setting, mood and atmosphere more effectively. “Man Overboard” is a modern story written in the twentieth century by Winston Churchill. It tells the story of a man on a steam liner who accidentally falls overboard whilst he is alone on the deck of the ship. This story, unlike the others, is written in the third person. This doesn´t greatly affect the overall impact of the story although it might be easier to imagine yourself in the man´s position if it was written in the first person; it would make the reader more familiar with the story. However, reading a story in the third person can sometimes help you look upon the event more clearly because you are looking at the story happening in your mind when you are reading. The technique of writing in the third person in this story has worked to its advantage because it has done just that. When reading “Man Overboard”, I noticed that Churchill supplied a lot of information about the setting of the story so I was able to create a very vivid image in my mind of the story. I felt I could see the story happening. This story is written in prose but contains elements of verse, like “Frankenstein”. Verse in “Man Overboard” is used to show that there are parts of a song being sung during the story and that everybody else on the ship is occupied with singing the song whilst the man is in the water. This isolates the man from the rest of the people making it seem that there is little chance that he will be rescued. It shows he is alone and that no one has noticed what has happened to him which creates a strong feeling of fear and death. If this story were to be made into a film, I can imagine the song haunting the background of the scene where he is shouting for help. The song plays a very important part in the story: it is what causes the death of the man because it is the barrier between him and the rest of the people on board. The characters in each story are men and in “The Raven” and “Man Overboard” they remain nameless. I think this is either to create a mysterious atmosphere where the reader is wondering their name or because they haven´t lived to tell their story to anyone human. I think that if the men were both named in “The Raven” and “Man Overboard”, the stories may have been more memorable because there would have been a name people could talk about to go with the story. It makes the men look more unfortunate if they don´t have names because it showed that maybe they didn´t use them because they didn´t come into contact with many people. Both of the men didn´t encounter another human in the stories so they weren´t able to use their names either, for example, in conversation. Frankenstein and the man in “The Raven” are quite similar in the fact that they are both mentally affected by what they have been through in the story. The only character with an evident history is Frankenstein. This is because the story of “Frankenstein” is a novel and novels supply many details concerning the history of events, plots and characters. Frankenstein had a stable childhood. He was loved and admired by his parents. He was their “plaything and idol”. From the quality of his childhood, it seemed there would be a fortunate and successful life in store for Frankenstein but things change as he is ‘punished for offending nature´. We are first introduced to Frankenstein in Walton´s letters in the prologue. Walton is very curious about this “man in so wretched a condition” whom he has taken on board his vessel. This makes the reader wonder what this man has been through and why he is ill because it is evident he has experienced a lot. Small hints of Frankenstein´s story are given away by his actions described by Walton in the letters. “He is continually on deck, apparently watching for the sledge that preceded his” and he “seeks one who fled from him”. Walton and his men on board are very curious about Frankenstein and the reader would be building up the same feelings here too, especially as Frankenstein wants to tell his story. He has the urge to tell someone what he has been through. The reader would believe that if he has the urge to tell the story, it must be good. This is the same with Poe´s characters. The man in “The Raven” wants to tell his story. He includes every detail of how he felt, what happened and what he was thinking about. This helps the reader to fully understand what is happening in the story so they can begin to imagine exactly what the character experienced. Poe wrote every verse containing as much detail as possible to make sure the reader would perceive a very vivid image of the story. For example, in verse two, the last two full lines say “From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore, For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore”. We learn three things from these two lines that are important in the plot. The man feels sorrowful because he has lost someone named Lenore whom he must love because he describes her as “rare and radiant” and he is trying to distract himself from his melancholy feelings by reading his book. In “Man Overboard” the first thing we are told is about the man is that “It was little after half-past nine when he fell overboard”. This removes most suspense from the story because you know what happens in the middle and you could start to think about the ending from the very first sentence. However, it could make a reader curious as to why he fell over board and so they would be eager to read on. We don´t learn much about the man during the story because things happen so fast. We know he was liked by the other passengers because “he had been listening to the music and joining in the songs” before he went out on deck and he is heading to India on the mail steamer. From the way he is written about I think the man enjoyed being alone. He is very nostalgic and reflective and maybe this is why he was so vulnerable in the event that followed and gave up easily. The settings of “Man Overboard” and the prologue of “Frankenstein´’ are very similar. They are set in the ocean. This part of “Frankenstein” is set in the Arctic which is a place many people had no knowledge of or had explored in the nineteenth century. “Man Overboard” is set in the Red Sea. This creates a completely different mood to “Frankenstein” but still contains a feeling of danger in that there is no one near-by. Setting a story in a desolate location creates a feeling of uncertainty and adventure and the feeling that anything could happen because the place is unfamiliar. If a place were far from populated land, it would make it harder to survive if anything went wrong and it is known that in the sea things can sink and people can drown very easily. Phrases used to describe a sense of place in the Arctic such as “stiff gales”, “floating sheets of ice… indicating the dangers of the region”, and “many hundred miles from any land” make it sound a very dangerous place. Many people hadn´t experienced the environment of such a place during the time Shelley wrote “Frankenstein” which made it harder to imagine and therefore more frightening. It would be more frightening to someone reading this one hundred years ago because they would have less knowledge of the world surrounding them. The way the setting in “Man Overboard” is described is a contrast to this image of the Arctic. The Red Sea is said to be “warm” and the surfaces of the water are “still” but there is one sentence that makes me think of the ocean as a more horrific thing. When it says “The mail steamer was hurrying through the Red Sea in the hope of making up the time which the currents of the Indian Ocean had stolen” it made me think that if the ocean could steal time, then it could be capable of stealing life. That sentence contains a very powerful metaphor that adds a slight amount of suspense to the otherwise calm settings being described. The moon adds a lot of atmosphere to the setting. Where the moon is hidden behind the clouds in the beginning, it suggests that it will be harder to notice the man falling overboard because there is less light. The moon and clear sky reflect the man´s emotions in the beginning. The man is calm when the atmosphere is calm. When the moon comes out from behind the clouds at the end when the shark is moving towards the man, it reinforces that God had heard his appeal and sheds light on the man´s last moments. Churchill probably created a calm atmosphere to make the event of the man falling overboard more dramatic because most elements of suspense were removed from the plot in the first line. A contrasting event to the setting it happens in is different to what happens in “Frankenstein” and “The Raven” where the horrific parts of those stories are set in bleak, dark, mysterious locations. For example, when Frankenstein creates his being and gives it life for the first time “it was on a dreary night in November”. This tells us that it was in winter when it was cold, there are no leaves on trees and there is less life to witness this terrible crime that Frankenstein was about to commit. Phrases such as “the rain pattered dismally against the panes” and “the candle was nearly burnt out” make the waking of the monster more terrifying because it is dark and stormy. The monster would have been able to attack Frankenstein in the dark without anyone knowing and it would have been harder for him to escape. As a result of the monster´s appearance, Frankenstein fears his own creation even though he doesn´t know him. “A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch.” This prejudice adds to the suspense and the reader would start to wonder about the destiny of the monster and how people will react to him. The monster would definitely be more terrifying to someone reading the story in the nineteenth century because horror was just being introduced for the first time and people would have been shocked at the sound of the appearance of such a creature. Each time Frankenstein meets his creation, the weather is gloomy or stormy. After the monster has murdered Frankenstein´s brother, William, he reveals himself to Frankenstein on the horizon when “A flash of lightening illuminated the object”. Stormy weather has always been linked with horror stories because many people fear storms. Storms would have been more frightening in the nineteenth century because again, people wouldn´t have known as much about them as scientists do today. The one time when the weather is calm when Frankenstein meets his monster is when the monster tells of his travels. The atmosphere is happier when the monster tells Frankenstein of how he was kind hearted and how he learnt to speak all by himself. It creates a feeling of new life in the setting although it is still set in winter. In “The Raven”, Poe uses the same ideas of a stereotypical horror setting to match the image of the Raven and how it signified an omen of death in the nineteenth century. Phrases such as “the air grew denser” makes me think of suffocation, which leads to death. This story is set at night and in “the bleak December” similar to the creation of the monster in Frankenstein. Being alone at night is like being alone in the sea where there are no people to help if you are in trouble. Each story contains lifeless settings to inspire horror in the story by making the characters appear alone and vulnerable. The three stories open very differently because of the different forms they are written in: novel, short story and poem. When Frankenstein begins his story, he starts with his history and talks about his childhood. As his childhood was happy and healthy, the mood of the first three chapters are happy as he talks about the highlights of his childhood, such as Elizabeth, his “companion”. The opening of this story contradicts the rest of it where normally if someone has a good childhood they go on to lead a successful life. Shelley probably did this to make the events of the story less expected and more upsetting, as Churchill did in “Man Overboard”. “Man Overboard”, the short story, opens with the main plot being revealed. I think that making an opening quite short can leave a lot of space for detail in the middle, especially in a short story, which may make the story more effective in the end. The opening of “The Raven” provides a little history of the character and actually lasts for six verses until the Raven enters in the seventh verse. This builds up a lot of suspense because the entry of the Raven keeps getting delayed because the man is continually trying to guess what is tapping at his door. In verse five there is a lot of suspense built up when it says “But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,” because there is something at the man´s door but it is not clear what it is. The atmosphere in the opening of “The Raven” is similar to the atmosphere all the way through the story, unlike “Man Overboard” and “Frankenstein”, where the mood of the stories change more frequently. The characters in the three stories each get disturbed by a being that is not human. This definitely adds a deeper sense of horror to the stories because we have less knowledge of other creatures compared to ourselves so they appear more powerful to us. How frightening a person finds the creature in each story depends on how society perceives the creature at that time, which would directly affect the reader´s opinion. For example, in the nineteenth century when “The Raven” was written, ravens were considered as a very significant omen of death. The public feared the dark and sinister presence of ravens because they were thought to be present only at times of death. I remember watching a film set in the late nineteenth century in which there was a funeral and burial scene. In the corner of the screen sat perched in a tree there was a raven looking down on the event. It was almost as if the raven were watching the consequences of his presence. The man in “The Raven” believes that the raven who has visited him is an omen of death because it calls it a “prophet, thing of evil, devil” and enquires to whether the “Tempter” sent it, which means he thinks either God or the Devil has sent it. He also enquires about his destiny and if he will meet Lenore again. He believes the raven has the power to know all. In “Frankenstein”, Shelley also talks of the Devil and compares Frankenstein´s creation to “a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived”. In “The Raven” and “Frankenstein” the characters are mentally disturbed after they have come into contact with the beings. In “The Raven”, the man gets very angry and hysterical at the raven who will say nothing but “Nevermore”. His outburst in verse fourteen is a result of how scared the man is of the raven. In contrast to the beginning of the poem when he was very upset about his long lost love Lenore and wanted to die to relieve his pain, he now doesn´t want to die and demands some answers from the mysterious and intrusive raven. The man is aware of the significance of the raven and doesn´t want to die. He just wants to know why it is there. Poe shows that the man is clearly affected by this raven by using images of Heaven and Hell, which shows he is scared of losing his life but he is hoping that Lenore has something to do with the raven, which gives away that maybe she is dead and brings more death into the story. The shark used at the end of “Man Overboard” is more frightening than The Raven because ravens don´t bear the same image in the twentieth century and we have proof that sharks are dangerous because they have killed people. A shark probably wouldn´t have been as frightening as a raven in the nineteenth century. Unlike in “The Raven”, the man in “Man Overboard” isn´t scared by what he is faced with, in this case, the shark. Instead he is relieved because he wants to die. The man in “The Raven” wants to die in the beginning, even though he doesn´t want to die at the end. This builds up suspense because the reader will start to wonder whether their wishes will come true. Frankenstein, too, wants to die many times during the novel because of how his accomplishment has made him feel. The feeling of wanting to die also adds to the atmosphere, making it very depressing. Although things that people found frightening in the nineteenth century aren´t perceived in the same way nowadays, Shelley created a being in “Frankenstein” that still frightens people today. The concept of messing with life and death is still thought of as immoral and disgusting and the idea of piecing together a being using the limbs of several dead people is still very sickening. The way the creation is described as being “a hideous wretch”, “a miserable monster” and “a daemonaicle corpse” inspires all sorts of images within the readers minds, depending on what sort of images they have seen before. This is why “Frankenstein” may be scarier in the twentieth century because people have been more exposed to visually frightening images in horror movies, for example. This is another reason why Shelley´s novel is still very successful. Her ideas of horror were those of the future. This also links with using many modern scientific and philosophical ideas in her writing. In “The Raven”, the mood of the writing is constant almost all the way through except for the middle when the raven has just entered. The mood of previous verses is fairly bleak, mysterious and melancholy until in verse eight when the raven “beguiled his [the man´s] sad fancy into smiling” because of the way it entered and looked. I think the man is trying to conceal the fact that he is scared of the omen of death that just flew into his “chamber” by laughing. He may have also been laughing at the fact that he hoped his visitor was Lenore but it was only a bird. It´s at this point that he might have started to become mentally disturbed because he laughing in what he thought was the face of death. He feels privileged in verse nine when he says “For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door”. In verse ten the significance of the raven becomes more obvious to him so he tries to be hopeful and assures himself that “On the morrow he will leave” and in verse eleven he tells himself that the raven is not there to kill him but is just uttering words from a previous master. In the following verses, the raven starts to scare and annoy him. Then the mood returns to horrific and dark when the man starts to get hysterical. In “Frankenstein”, the mood also changes like this. In the beginning when Frankenstein creates the monster, the mood of the writing is horrific and gloomy to reflect the events that have just taken place. A reader may then start to assume that the events that will follow will be of the same nature and that the monster will go on to perform terrible crimes but instead he learns to fend for himself and the mood of the story changes. The part of the story when Frankenstein´s creation is hiding in a “small hovel” near to a cottage and learning the language is quite a thought provoking and a happy point in the story that shows that if someone wants to learn, they are able to. It shows that people can succeed even if they are neglected. Frankenstein has to deal with many deaths during the story and as the story progresses, the mood of the writing surrounding death changes dramatically. When Frankenstein´s mother dies first, he shows a feeling of true bereavement but when the monster kills his brother, William, he turns bitter and demands revenge. When he has to deal with the deaths of Justine, Clerval, Elizabeth and his Father, his emotions go up and down, he hates his creation and he wants to kill himself. The deaths he is forced to cope with contribute to his mental illness. In “Man Overboard” the mood changes very dramatically too. At first “the night was clear” and the sea-song “Rowdy Dowdy Boys” adds to the atmosphere of the ocean liner. When the man falls overboard, which doesn´t change the mood dramatically because it says, “he fell into the warm water of the sea”, (warm being a word not associated with horror), there is a sentence after the second verse of the song that puts the situation into a whole new perspective. “The noise of motion and the sounds of life and music died away”. Here, death is introduced into the story for the first time suggesting the ending of the story. The mood continually changes when Churchill keeps leading the reader to believe that the man will be rescued and then that he won´t. The man´s hope of being rescued fades but then he is overcome with “furious energy” as he swims and tries to catch up with the boat. He tries to remain optimistic and assures himself that the boat will return. “Suddenly a distant light seemed to flicker and brighten. A surge of joy rushed through his mind. They were going to stop.” Churchill tried to coax the reader into believing that the man will be rescued. When the boat continues to move further away and “despair succeeds hope”, both the man and the reader who have become very much involved in this part of the story, are disappointed. Then he decides to drown himself but cannot bear the “physical death” so he returns to the surface. This makes the reader wonder whether he will die that day or not. Finally, he prays to die and the shark comes to kill him. This plays with the reader´s emotions and expectations because they don´t know how the story will end. The story could end in any number of places in any number of ways. The mood of the story changes so rapidly from positive to negative which builds up a lot of suspense in the spontaneity of it. Changing the mood during a story makes it more exciting and less predictable which captivates the reader´s interest. All three stories show evidence of significant mood change, which created a successful amount of suspense when I read them. Another key part of suspense in “Frankenstein” is when Walton sees the monster in the letters at the beginning. This would make the reader curious about the “gigantic stature” “which had the shape of a man” and how it would link to the story. When I read it, I thought that it could have been Frankenstein, which I thought was good because it was surprising when I found out it wasn´t and made the story more exciting and unpredictable. Shelley normally used long and complex sentences when writing the story of “Frankenstein” except when describing the creation of the monster. She used shorter sentences, which made me read faster and excited me about what I was about to find out. The sentences were always shorter when suspense was being created and tension was in the atmosphere. During the creation of the monster, a sentence is almost a paragraph long where Frankenstein talks about how he feels. As he is disturbed by what he has done, his thoughts are muddled, so the sentence is broken up by lots of commas and such a long sentence becomes quite confusing. This is another instance where the writer wants to make the reader feel the same as the character in the book to reinforce the mood of the writing and to involve the reader in the story more effectively. In “The Raven” there is a lot of suspense built up in the first six verses when each time the man is disturbed by a tapping noise, there is nothing to be seen. This made me want to read on and I was continually asking myself if there was going to be anything at the door. This part of the story involves the imagination of the reader as they start to figure things out. There weren´t many more key parts of suspense in “Man Overboard” because of the way the first line gave it away, except at the end when you don´t know if and when the man will die. The endings of the three stories are all quite similar because the characters die at the end because of what they have been through. “Frankenstein” ends as it began with letters written from Walton to his sister. Frankenstein has journeyed to the Arctic in pursuit of his creation and has lived to tell the extraordinary tale of his life. The reader finds out that the end of Frankenstein´s story was in the prologue and everything is pieced together, for example, the sighting of the “gigantic stature” in the beginning. After completing his story, Frankenstein dies on the boat and his monster finds him. The compassion he once felt for his creator returns to him as he confesses he wants to die too. The morals used throughout the story are summed up here in part of the monster´s speech. “…I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on…” Here, Shelley communicates the idea that everyone should be loved no matter how they look. This could be related to many modern issues, for example, a mother abandoning her baby. The ending matched the theme of the story, e.g. death and bereavement, and was very detailed. I liked the way the letters at the beginning and the end made the story very complete, and gave the story more of a purpose to be told. Walton wanted to hear it; Frankenstein wanted to tell it. Many of the ideas Shelley used in the novel were talked about by the monster at the end which also made the story educational because it talked about very realistic issues. In “The Raven” Poe leaves you unsure about the ending he has written. It is quite evident that the man is dead and the raven has frightened the man to death because his “soul from out that shadow lies floating on the floor”, which seems as if he has left his body but we are never sure why. The only evidence we have is that the man was a firm believer of superstition and maybe he was so scared of the thought of dying that it killed him. This is like the ending in “The Tell Tale Heart”, also by Edgar Allan Poe. At the end you know that the younger man has killed the older man but you can´t figure out why. Poe lets the readers decide for themselves what has truly happened which involves their imaginations, which makes it a more memorable ending because the reader has had to think about it more. In “Man Overboard” it is safe to assume that a shark killed the man because he was praying to die and suddenly “His last appeal had been heard” and a fin “approached him slowly”. In “Frankenstein” and “Man Overboard” the men wanted to die so the ending is satisfactory to the character and reader because it was what was expected. In one of the stories it might have been better to keep the character alive for longer to create more fear in the character´s mind which would have built up more suspense in the story if the character had to keep going through more horror. The ending of “The Raven” was good because the man didn´t want to die but he did. This made the story more horrific because the character didn´t want what happened in the end, making him more frightened and adding more fear and tension to the story for the reader because they could be so involved in the story that they would feel what the character is feeling. Linking ideas throughout a story is an effective way of keeping a reader interested. It keeps the story exciting if the reader is able to piece parts of different plots together. However, if the writer continually keeps inventing new plots that have no relevance to any of the current ones and make up a new story on their own, the reader may start to lose interest because it may confuse them. In “Frankenstein”, Shelley links many plots to one another as the novel progresses. This helps the reader to develop a clearer understanding of what is happening because each plot supports another one. The letters in “Frankenstein” are a good example of the way Shelley links different character´s ideas together in the story. The letters Frankenstein received when he was away at Ingolstadt were about what was happening at his home. These letters made it easier for me to understand the story when Frankenstein returned home because all of the information had already been supplied about the environment and characters. I didn´t have to concentrate on figuring out things about the story, which made it easier to read. The letters acting as the prologue and epilogue from Walton to his sister also linked the story together very well. When I had finished the story I realised what everything meant at the beginning, for example when Frankenstein said to Walton “I have lost everything and cannot begin life anew”. Reading statements like that at the beginning built up a lot of suspense and made me want to keep reading to find out more. This helped me enjoy the story more because I was always searching for something to find out about in the text. In “The Raven”, Poe links ideas with words, rhyme and verse structure. The way he wrote about the raven saying “Nevermore” at the end of each verse gave the plot more continuation because it provided a reason for man to keep reacting to in the next verse. It made me wonder whether the raven would say anything else so it kept me interested. The verses and the rhyming patterns are very structured, which linked each verse of the story together because they were of similar length and sound. The way the rhyming of the ‘ore´ sound kept appearing in the same places in each verse gave the poem more rhythm and familiarity and linked the verses together even more because I was able to tell when the next rhyme would be. In “Man Overboard”, Churchill links the song with the setting very well. This is very important because the song is the cause of the ending of the story. “Rowdy Dowdy Boys” is a sea song and as the story is set on a ship, this makes it very appropriate and makes the atmosphere feel more realistic. It makes it easier to imagine the song being sung in its surroundings and puts the story into context more effectively. The main difference between these three stories is the type of language they contain because of the different periods they were written in, and the effect the language has on the style of the story. Although “Frankenstein” was written in the same century as “The Raven”, it contains less archaic English words and is written in a more formal style of English. The style of writing in “Frankenstein” may still be used in writing today, except some of the words will not be used anymore or will be spelt differently, such as “daemonaical”, which is now “demonical”. “Man Overboard” is written in Modern English and contains no words that are not used today because formal English hasn´t changed much over the last sixty years. The style of language used in each story makes them very different from each other and we can identify the period in which they were written in very easily by looking at some of the words used and things written about that were popular at that time. For example, in “Frankenstein”, Justine was hanged when she was accused of murdering William, which is something that doesn´t happen anymore. Each story mentions God, religion and death, which shows that those things inspire a lot of feelings in people and always have, especially when thinking about horrific events. This shows that some views of certain issues in society haven´t changed a great deal over the last few hundred years, which also supports that Shelley was able to write a story that still scares people today, unlike “The Raven”, which is based on periodic superstition. By studying the main differences and similarities between “Frankenstein”, “The Raven” and “Man Overboard” and looking at the different ways in which the writers create suspense and horror, I found “Frankenstein” to be the most successful story. The novel contains many realistic and relevant ideas about morals and science, which made it the most interesting story because it wasn´t just a fictional story. The techniques Shelley used to build up suspense in “Frankenstein” weren´t very different to those of the other stories but she was able to build on more information to make the moment more effective. For example, she used short sentences when building up suspense and so did Churchill in “Man Overboard” but she also used a more horrific setting to reflect the mood of that part of the story. She captivated my interest because suspense was always being built up, even in the calmer scenes. Small things were always being given away in those scenes: characters were wondering why Frankenstein was so tired, Frankenstein feared things happening around him and there were many incidents in the story in which Frankenstein wanted to die but couldn´t, which always created suspense because I didn´t know what was going to happen. I knew he lived through his story because he was telling it on the ship but because he wanted to die, he could have done anything to try and make that possible and things like that always made me want to keep reading. Shelley linked lots of ideas very successfully which made the story more understandable and clearer even though there were a lot of things to be thinking about when reading. I like the fact that she visited Geneva herself and was able to describe certain locations in the story very well. As she described everything in great detail, it was easy to get involved in the story because it was easier to imagine. I think that is just one of the benefits of writing a novel; novels always contain lots of detail to make the story clearer to the reader so they are able to piece things together easily. In “Frankenstein” there are extreme mood changes and the fact that Frankenstein isn´t able to stay happy for a long time because of the monster adds even more horror to the story. Another thing that has also made me realise that “Frankenstein” is a very successful novel is that it is still a frightening story today and I really like the way Shelley used very new ideas at the time of writing this story. If the story has survived this long and still has the same terrifying impact on readers, I think it will continue to be a widely appreciated novel for many years to come. I will certainly remember the horrific images that Shelley produced in my mind whilst I read “Frankenstein”.
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