Essay 2 - Richard Salvagno English 1105: Haunted Houses...

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Richard Salvagno English 1105: Haunted Houses Essay 2 February 6, 2010 Unfinished Business Often in stories of haunted houses, a ghost returns from the dead in order to complete unfinished business. The situation surrounding the matter in question requires the ghost to resolve the problem keeping them in this life, in order to pass on to the next. Examples of ghosts attempting to complete their tasks before they may pass on to the afterlife are found in Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’s “The Little Ghost,” and Helen R. Hull’s “Clay Shuttered Doors.” Both the little ghost and Thalia become trapped in a state in which they are apparitions and cannot pass on to the next life until they have completed some goal in the mortal world. The little girl who haunts the Dennison house desires approval from a motherly figure, whereas Thalia seeks the love of her husband. While the two ghosts have varying levels of success in their attempts to pass on to the next life, they both work to achieve their goals through labor and effort. The little girl who haunts the Dennison house seeks the mother figure that she did not have during her short lifetime. After being the victim of abuse and murder, the little girl haunts the current residents of the house she once lived in, hoping to fill the void from her previous life. Because she was the recipient of neglect and abuse from her biological mother, the little girl was never allowed the caring figure that children need. The fact that her mother ordered her “do most of the work” by having her to “stand on a chair and wash dishes” and carry “in sticks of wood, most as big as she was many a time” disallowed the little girl from having an ideal, loving relationship with her mother (Freeman 15). Instead, the mother of the
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Salvagno 2 little girl abuses her child with labor and causes her daughter to believe that the only way to gain the approval of one’s mother is through the completion of chores. This concept of gaining approval through work transcends to the time when the girl haunts the later occupants of the house after her death. Once the three new woman move into the house, they begin to feel the presence of
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Essay 2 - Richard Salvagno English 1105: Haunted Houses...

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