ENGLISH ASSIGNMENT "GHOST STORY"
The ghost story ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ (by W. W. Jacobs)
will be read to the class. This should take most of a 40 minute lesson.
The story should be used as stimulus material; the assignment
is to write a short story which has some of the same ingredients as the one by
Jacobs. The features which should be included are:
a sense of mystery
For a basic outline plot and suggested strategy, the
following is submitted. It is stressed, however, that this is meant to be a
suggestion and not a prescriptive straight-jacket.
Begin with an ordinary scene with plenty of convincing detail
- the intention being to create an atmosphere of realism and security. If the
setting is mundane and unremarkable, then the credibility or even gullibility of
the reader is assured. In other words lull the reader into a false sense of
security, so that later more outlandish happenings are also taken for granted.
Gradually introduce the supernatural element. Do so in such
away as the reader does not view it as ridiculous and laughable. One way is to
make one (or more) of the characters very cynical and disbelieving - then the
reader will identify with that character. The reader will be convinced as the
character is - especially if that character is the victim.
The supernatural element could be:
an object (a charm, photograph, archaeological find)
a dream, premonition, sixth-sense,…
a ghost, spirit, voice,…
You should try to evoke some sense of the unnatural.
Time: 1 lesson for reading of story by W. W. Jacobs.
1 lesson (at least) & week-end homework for the writing up of story.
The end product should be about 5 sides of A4 long (approx.
1200 words) - and should probably include between 8 and 12 paragraphs. Remember
to plan the essay out beforehand. Also it might add a little variety if some
direct speech (dialogue) were included.