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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Short Story Analysis: A Haunted House

I. A Haunted House
by Virginia Woolf



II. SYNOPSIS

         Two ghosts, a male and a female, a couple, go around their former house searching for some buried treasure. In the end, they realize that the real treasure is actually "the light in the heart," the love of a certain partner for the other partner.

III. SHORT STORY ELEMENTS

A. CHARACTERS

          There are only two characters in this short story (although there is mention about the living couple who currently occupies the house), the male and the female ghosts, both protagonists, both flat and static.

B. PLOT

a) Introduction

          This short story takes place in a house where two ghosts, a couple, used to live.

b) Rising Action

           The couple-ghosts think that the present living occupants of their former house have already found the buried treasure that they are looking for.

c) Climax

           The ghosts are still searching for their treasure and they are wondering whether it is in the garden.

d) Falling action

           Realizing that the treasure was not found by the house’s present occupants, the ghosts are relieved that it is safe, and such treasure is really theirs.

e) Denouement

           Finally, the ghosts know that the treasure is really safe, and theirs, and such treasure is not tangible things, but intangible, found in the light in the heart.

C. SETTING

a) place – in a house formerly owned by a ghost couple

b) time- a long time ago

c) weather conditions- fine

d) social conditions- the ghosts led a comfortable life when they were still alive

e) mood or atmosphere- light

D. POINT OF VIEW

         The Point of View used in this short story is the Omniscient Limited - The author tells the story in third person (using pronouns they, she, he, it, etc). We know only what the character knows and what the author allows him/her to tell us. We can see the thoughts and feelings of characters if the author chooses to reveal them to us.

E. LITERARY DEVICES

         In my opinion, the literary devices used in this story are Symbolism and Irony. The treasure mentioned by the ghosts here is not tangible, it is just a symbol. Irony because the title sounds scary, but the actual story is not.

F. THEME

         For me, the theme Things are not always as they appear to be is applicable to this story.

G. CONFLICT

         The conflict here is Internal, that of Man (or ghost, to that matter)vs. Himself, as each of the ghosts here is frantically searching for the said treasure around their former house, afraid that the new occupants have found it. --ARV

21 comments:

  1. thank you !! youuuu helped alot with my research paper :)

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  2. You have saved my life! thanks!

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  3. I'm so happy for that :) You're so much welcome...

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  4. very very helpful.im not the greatest reader and i have to write a paper about her works.i cannot understand her writting. and this helped me so much!!!! THANK YOU

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  5. I'm very glad that I helped you :) You're very much welcome...

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  6. Hi! I´m trying to establish some conection considering the story and the social context Virginia lived. Also, related to Virginia´s life. Why she wrote a story like this one? Could you help me?

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  7. Hi there. Using the Biographical Approach of Literary Criticism, there is a concrete connection between the story “A Haunted House” and its author Virginia Woolf. She has been one of the most excellent innovators in English (as a language), and in her works or stories, she experimented with characters that would have emotional and psychological motives. In my opinion, the ghosts in the aforementioned story have such motives which are clearly manifested in the happy ending. On the other hand, for me, she could have written a story like this because of her being innovative and experimental. Perhaps she chose ghosts as the main characters as a sort of escape from reality because she had a troubled social life, with mental and nervous breakdowns, recurring depressive periods, mood swings, as well as certain sicknesses. But despite her instability that frequently affected her own social life, she was still productive with some literary breaks along the way, and her stories have since then become popular.

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  8. Holy cow, you have helped me so much for a research paper. :D thanks again! Great blog!

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  9. Wow, that's so wonderful to hear :) You're welcome...

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  10. The characters involved in the story are two couples. One of them is alive, the other is dead.

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  11. I am so sorry for the delay in publishing your comment. Yep, there is another couple in this short story, and such is alive. I did not include this detail anymore in my summary and analysis.

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  12. Thank you!! This helped me a lot!!

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  13. Thanks thanks a lot your post very help me and easy me ..

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    1. You're welcome. Thanks, too, for commenting on this post...

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  14. CAN U PLEASE HELP ME. WHAT ARE THE CRITICAL APPROACH OF THE WEDDING DANCE? THANK U ...

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    1. There can be different critical approaches here. For one, the Feminism Approach can be applied since the female characters are seemingly "de-moralized" by their respective roles. Next, the Reader-Response Approach can also be used, wherein personal opinions can be laid out.

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  15. A ghost, but a spirit, because he had his full thinking mind, and could go anywhere he wanted; wasn't stuck haunting a dwelling or a person.

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  16. THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH !

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  17. what is the resolution, events, theme

    major time:
    minor place:

    initiating events
    internal responce
    attempts
    consequence.

    thank you

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