Betty soon begins to converse with Nancy about the Midsummer’s Eve superstition and soon enough Nancy explains how she saw William shape enter the church after a bit of persuasion from Betty, as the following extract shows, ‘You saw my husband’ says Betty Privett in a quite way. ‘Well since you put it so’ says Nancy. The superstition of Midsummer’s Eve claims that if the shape of a person enters the local church on Midsummer’s Eve it means they will pass away soon enough. As the story progresses furthermore the reader comes across a moth creature fly out of William’s death, which represents his death.
The latter stages of the story unfold how Williams figure is sighted in the middle of a spring, which is ironically the location of his only son’s death. The plot in Crossing Over basically unfolds the life of a young girl who has found a part time job by walking an elderly women’s dog. During the story the reader comes across an accident, which at first makes the reader presume that the victim of the car crash was the dog Togo. However small clues are given off which indicate that a twist maybe approaching. The clues however are not noticeable through a first reading, they become a lot clearer through second reading.
The clues which are given off are the girl walking faster, her friend totally ignoring her as she passes, the door knocker being a lot heavier, Mrs Matthews ignoring her and Togo described as being frightened. At the end of the story the reader has worked out that the girl was the actual victim of the accident and her death was the result of it, but through a first reading the reader would be made to kept reading till the end as curious clues are given off arousing suspicion and curiosity which would make the reader want to read on and find a conclusion which answer the questions built up from the tension and suspense etc.
‘The door opened, and she braced herself for the shock she was about to administer and the scolding she was certainly going receive’. But when Mrs Matthews looked out, she behaved in a very peculiar way. Instead of saying immediately, ‘where’s Togo? ‘ she asked nothing of her visitor, but bent forward and peered out, looking up and down the short row of cottages, as if she were searching for something or someone who might be coming or going in the street. ‘ The extract above is just before the reader finds the conclusion to the story.
From the extract above more curiosity is built up as the reader has found that the girl has been ignored twice now which builds up suspicion and to some readers enough evidence to suggest that the girl is a ghost and that she was the victim of the car accident. The themes in each story match in some areas. For example both stories have the sense that the ghosts are going about unfinished business. For instance Williams ghost visits the place where his son had died for the first time and the girls ghost goes over to the old women’s house to explain the supposed death of Togo.
Time and place in both stories is important. This is because the authors use time to build up effects and suspense. In crossing over the girl is not aware of her death until the very end of the story, in fact she believes that Togo was the dead victim of the car accident. The girl does not notice how fast she is travelling after accident ordeal along with many other aspects of curiosity the girl does not take any notice as she moves on to Mrs Matthews to explain. The following quote will explain how the girl takes no curious notice of how fast she has been travelling,
‘She found that she must have been walking really fast, which was surprising … she reached the grocers … almost before shed realised’. Time in the superstitious man is used to inform the reader that William was a ghost and therefore dead. For example in Hardy’s story the reader finds that Philip Hookhorn sights William at the same point at which he dies indicating that Hookhorn had seen the presence of Williams ghost. The following quote will help explain this stage in the play, ‘ … William could not have stood by the spring, being in the mead two miles off …
the time at which he was seen … was he very time when he died’. Other themes within each story are that, The Superstitious Man is set in a village whereas Crossing Over is based in a modern day city, and the death in The Superstitious Man is not gory and gruesome whereas the girl’s death in Crossing Over is violent and untimely. The characters in each story are in many aspects similar. For example neither character is very exposed. The girl in Crossing Over is not even given a name! William is not given much dialogue and attention throughout The Superstitious Man.
Both characters are very reserved and strange. For instance at the beginning of The Superstitious Man William is described as a very peculiar individual as the following quote suggests, ‘ … And if he was behind your back without you seeing him, there seemed to be something clammy in the air’. In Crossing Over the girl would also be seen as strange after the reader discovers she finds walking dogs the best job for her and that other jobs did not appeal to her as much as walking dogs does. In the play the reader also finds that William works in a mill and is a forgetful person through his wife.
In addition the reader also finds that Williams only son had died whilst out in the spring. In Crossing Over the reader may find that although the girl is fond of dogs she is not very keen on Togo, and that she is not very confident and finds walking dogs both comfortable and enjoyable. The narrative structures in each story vary. For instance, in The Superstitious Man the story is brought through by a narrator (first person) whereas in Crossing Over we are taking through the story through the girl’s point of view (third person).
Because Crossing Over is brought through the girl’s point of view it restricts the readers understanding which therefore creates suspense, as the reader would be keen to learn more. The plot in The Superstitious Man would fit into a tradition ghost story view as; it consists of how a person in the village dies of a superstitious death without being physically harmed. This is like a traditional ghost story as it is not full of suspense and does not excite the reader with all the aspects modern day ghost stories have.
Crossing Over on the other hand uses time very effectively to create the suspense and includes and extreme death etc. Although the characters in each story are similar in a few ways we can see that they are broken up into categories of a traditional ghost story and a modern day ghost story. We can see that William fits into traditional ghost story as he works in a mill and the modern day girl is employed as a dog walker which was not much of a profession back in the 1800’s especially in a village in those times.
To conclude, in my opinion I think that the narratives in Crossing Over were a lot more effective as a ghost story. This is because s carries a lot more suspense in its techniques and contains much more excitement throughout the story to keep the reader interested. The death in The Superstitious Man was not one of great excitement and the lack of suspense left the reader with nothing to look forward to or any reason to continue.
On the other hand the dramatic twist at the end of Crossing Over makes the reader feel the story was worth reading and even worth reading again to gain a clearer understanding of the clues given earlier. Readers today find curiosity built by the author a lot better then just being bored with detail. In other words the reader today finds the challenge and mystery behind books that create suspense enjoyable and a lot more interesting then ghost stories, which do not keep the readers mind buzzing with ideas and predictions.
In my opinion Crossing Over mislead the reader and brought a shocking and unbelievable end to conclude the story which was a lot more enjoyable as the reader was involved and challenged a lot more then in The Superstitious Man. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.