Of Effective Ghost Stories
The ghost story genre is one that is very complex. Each ghost story can be told in a different way and still be effective. A ghost is a supernatural force. Supernatural themes are often associated with paranormal and occult ideas. Supernatural comes from the Latin word “supra” and means the above nature, anything above or beyond what holds to be natural and exists outside natural law and the observable neighborhood. Jamesian and Freud both developed their own criteria for evaluating an effective ghost story. These criteria were useful in developing my own paradigm for assessing an effective ghost story. When looking into what I felt was needed to make a ghost story effective, I looked at the formal elements of the narrative as well as the psychological effects of the story on the reader. In doing so I was able to come up with standards that I believe each ghost story should follow in order to be effective to the reader. The first characteristic of an effective ghost story is the setting. The tale must take place in modern day and be recognizable by the reader. For example the story could not take place in space because the reader most likely has never been to space. Although the setting must be in modern day the ghost should be from the past. The next characteristic is related to the intentions of the ghost. Whether it’s a good or evil ghost there should always be a story to be told by the ghost. In an effective ghost story there has to be a purpose for the ghost to be present, if not then the ghost story is unsuccessful. Next there must be an element of mystery. The main character as well as the reader should be questioning their beliefs and/or morals throughout the story. If mystery is not present then the ghost in the story is the same as any other person. Mystery allows the reader to be engaged into the story and want to know more. Along with mystery the main character must be skeptic of the supernatural...
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