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U.K. GCSE Coursework- 19th Ghost Stories - Essay Example

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Maclolm Malcolmson, in The Judge’s House and the unnamed narrator in The Red Room, are vital to the reader’s understanding of the supernatural worlds that are eventually presented in each story. The characters are used to draw the reader from their ‘normal’ physical…
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U.K. GCSE Coursework- 19th Ghost Stories
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Download file to see previous pages In The Judge’s House the reader is introduced to the character of Malcolm Malcolmson through an omniscient third person narrator. Malcolmson “feared the attractions of the seaside, and also he feared completely rural isolation.”1 So the dominant feature of this character, at least at first, is “fear”. He would thus seem to be not very well suited to dealing well with an encounter with a ghost. Malcolmson is deliberately removing himself from everyone and everything he knows in order to study for exams. He is obviously of middle or upper class origins and determined to do well in his academic work.
Soon the reader discovers that he is a mathematician, and possesses the self-confidence (some might say arrogance) of a man of science who thinks that only things that can be measured in a scientific sense are worth considering. Thus when he is warned about the terrors of the judge’s house, he replies casually, “ . . . but my dear Mrs. Witham, indeed you need not be concerned about me! A man who is reading for the Mathematical Tripos has too much to think of to be disturbed by any of these mysterious somethings . . . “2 He thus rejects the supernatural in a good-humored but essentially dismissive manner. He has the confidence of youth, of education and of science. The rest of the story reveals how this confidence is demolished piece by piece.
On his initial encounter with the rats that swarm through the house, on his first night of study, Malcomson ends up feeling remarkably at home with the vermin: “for a little while the rats disturbed him somewhat with their perpetual scampering, but he got accustomed to the noise as one does to the ticking of the clock or the roar of moving water. . . “3. The rats, at least these non-supernatural rats, are part of the physical world that Malcolmson is studying and feels comfortable with, at least to a point. The fact that “his problem was still unsolved” at the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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