On a Ghost Hunt: In Search of an Explanation for the Paranormal in Sarah Waters "The Little Stranger" - Isabell Rieth - E-Book

On a Ghost Hunt: In Search of an Explanation for the Paranormal in Sarah Waters "The Little Stranger" E-Book

Isabell Rieth

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Beschreibung

Seminar paper from the year 2019 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,3, LMU Munich, language: English, abstract: Hauntings and spectrality have always been popular literary tropes, manifested in fiction not only for the sake of pure entertainment but also historiographically, considering that the metaphorical dimension of "haunting", recurring issues shapes our perception of the stains the past leaves on our personal history. The past in itself models the future by possessing us, making us the ghost of our own haunting, while we remain utterly unaware of our foretime reaching out to us from beyond the grave of time. Sarah Waters' novel The Little Stranger generically combines features of a realist historical novel, a political novel and the Victorian trope of the Gothic spook haunting a formerly praised country house. The plot takes place at Hundreds Hall, the seemingly cursed mansion of the Ayres family at a time when the gentry lost its social status stricken by the post World War II anxiety (Thomas 2009). The decrepit building stands for many of the formerly glorious and renowned country houses in England, which bit by bit lost their worth within society and ceased to exist. Just like its predecessors, Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher or Walpole's The Castle of Ontario, The Little Stranger dismantles the pre-war notion of the country house as a mystified, heavenly place full of wonders and beauty. Just like the gentry itself represented by the Ayreses the almost propagandist imagery of the British upper class is torn apart by an inexplicable malicious force (O’Connell 2009: 44). The country house which functions as a refuge from the change that comes with time is penetrated by the very same force which aims to remove the last remnants of an obsolete hierarchical system who still defy modernity: The Ayres family. The hauntings result in madness, suicide, death – to be concise: the irrecoverable doom of the venerable Ayreses.

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