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Comparative Essay on Ghosts

When comparing two different types of texts, there is a criterion to be followed with. The two passages to be compared are utterly different text types but yet similar. The first text, “Ghost,” is taken from a book called “Human Personality and Its Survival After Bodily Death” by a psychologist studying paranormal phenomena called F.W. Myers. His book was based on his personal real-life experiences with ghosts. The other text was founded on a story by Algernon Blackwood, “The Willows.” It is a ghost fairy-tale based on the writer’s imagination.

“Ghost” is a part of a book written for people interested in psychic phenomena and mediumship; ghosts. It is written for people to recognize the observable phenomenon, which Myers studies as a psychologist. People interested in this topic must be of an elderly age with higher education standards. The text is written in the form of a third person, with no “I,” “you,” or “they.” This shows that it is a solid piece of writing, not a story. It might sound a bit humoristic to say the word “factual” when talking about ghosts, but Myers’ point was to clarify that ghosts exist in this world.

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The text structure is very typical, like any other form of text, with 18 lines and two paragraphs, one short and the other long. The first paragraph consists of 4 lines, which introduces the second paragraph by saying, “Ghosts, of various guises, are believed to some degree in all societies.” From lines, 5 to 15 is the explanation of the ghosts and how they have been misinterpreted. From lines 16 to 18, the lack of evidence to prove to society that ghosts do exist, 100%. The tone of the writer seems to be very serious and very persuasive towards ghosts.

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His tone makes the reader want to believe; well, that’s what it did to me, at least. It shows how grave he is towards this topic, which makes his readers at least be a bit more interested. The imagery used is not the same as used in poems. “Candle flames or keyholes… much larger… transferred to a distant wall”, this made me picture myself lying down in my bed and seeing a reflection of a keyhole against the opposite wall due to the light outside my room. This makes a person scared and makes their imagination go wild, but for nothing, and as a psychologist, he uses the term “visual illusions,” which plays mind games with our heads.

The vocabulary used is standard to a certain extent. Throughout the text, some words might not be familiar to all readers, but as mentioned before, this book is aimed at highly educated people with high English vocabulary skills. Such as “manifestation”, “guises”, “dubious”, “skeptical” and “perceptual”. Many psychology vocabulary is used in this text, such as “visual illusions” and “perceptual.” As it is a solid piece of writing, no rhymes, rhythms or sound effects were used. The language is unambiguous, as to be understood as a whole and apart from the vocabulary. The language is understandable and straightforward like solid pieces of writing should be.

“The Willows” is a short story based on ghosts, but not on real-life experiences. It is aimed at people who read ghosts stories and uncanny fiction. These stories are written to explore people’s or the reader’s imagination and open their minds to the mystical world of ghosts writers. This text is a high-quality literature piece, which also means that it is targeted at people with high vocabulary and English skills. The text is written in the first person with the continuous use of the word “I” and “my,” also “he.” This is another feature of a story, using first-person speaking. The structure of the text is standard, with 35 lines and five paragraphs. Every other paragraph being short and long.

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Using quotes of what the characters are saying also shows the reader that this piece of writing is a story. The writer’s tone makes the text very pressurizing, “We were grubbing away in the middle of a thicket of willows…”, “… He whispered”, “he sobbed at me…”, “whistling crying…”, “struggling heap.” “There, in front of the dim glow, something was moving.” By using the word, “something” doesn’t let the reader know what it actually is that is moving, which creates suspicion and anxiety. “… like the gauze drop-curtain…” makes the reader think about how that “something” is seen behind the veil.

The veil must be light, and see-through, which creates an image of a wind blowing gently. The tone sets a very forced atmosphere; also the vocabulary used is the main key to how the writer’s tone is. The imagery used in this short story is very vivid and creative. It doesn’t directly describe that that “something” IS a ghost, but by using the imagery the writer used makes the reader imagine that it is one. “Coiling upon itself like smoke” definitely creates an image of a ghost, the see-through smoke rising and curling. “icy fear that plucked the nerves out of their fleshy covering”, this shows how scared the main character is is in the text. It describes his sensation and interpretation of the Swede, which makes the reader feel that “icy fear” as well.

The vocabulary used in this short story is of a very high standard English language. Words such “grubbing”, “driftwood”, “clutching”, “gauze”, “glance”, “quivering”, “acute”, abominably” and so on, are not used in everyday language. The story is definitely aimed at professional literature readers with high vocabulary and understanding skills. The language could be described as the same as the vocabulary, as it is the same thing practically. In other words, the language is not easily understood by all readers. The two texts compared above are of course about the same topic, ghosts. But here we saw how they were completely different from each other, in terms of audience, purpose, language, vocabulary and so on.

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Comparative Essay on Ghosts. (2021, Sep 28). Retrieved December 8, 2022, from