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The Old Nurse's Story
Transcript of The Old Nurse's Story
It was a ghost story written at the request of Dickens in the special 1852 Christmas issue of his publication.
The old nurse tells a ghost story to her mistress’s children
she tells them the story of about their mother, beginning with the hiring of the nurse (the voice of the story) before her mistress would be born to their grandmother.
brings the supernatural element
- Hester hears the organ playing (page 1265)
" I was sometimes almost certain that I heard a noise as if someone was playing on the great organ in the hall . I did not hear it every evening; but certainly I did very often... " ( page 1265)
- Dorothy ,Bessy,and James react
"The first night..., I asked Dorothy who had been playing music and James said very shortly that I was a gawk to take the wind among the trees for music; but i saw Dorothy look at him very fearfully , and Bessy ,the kitchen maid, said something beneath her breath ,and went quite white." ( page 1265)
Location : Washington DC
Built : 1855
- The castle is described as a "twelfth-century combination of late Romanesque and early Gothic motifs"
- James Renwick Jr. ,the architect behind the construction of the castle , is also the mastermind behind New York's Patrick's Cathedral
Bessy Shares Her Experiences
- Bessy Tells All
"...but it was a very strange noise,and she had heard it many a time,but most of all winter nights , and before storms; and folks did say, it was the old lord playing on the great organ in the hall, just as he used to do when he was alive." (page 1265)
The Old Nurse's Story
1) Setting in a castle
- In modern times, the setting is usually an old house or mansion
- The house is usually dark, which creates a sense of unease and foreboding
2) Atmosphere of mystery and suspense
- To build up suspense, the characters often see only a glimpse of something
- The plot tends to be built around a mystery
- The combination of feeling threatened and having a fear of the unknown
also helps build suspense
3) Supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events
-Supernatural events involving ghosts and other creatures coming to life tends to occur.
- Some events are natural and some are purely supernatural
4) High, even overwrought emotion
- Characters are often overcome by anger , sorrow , surprise, and terror
- Characters experience impending doom
- Crying, emotional speeches, breathlessness, and panic are common
5) Women in distress
- Female characters experience fainting, screaming, sobbing, terror
6) Women threatened by a dictatorial male character
7) The metonymy of gloom and horror
Elements of Gothic Literature
Main Gothic Architecture Characteristics
1. Vaulted ceilings
2. Pointed arches
3. Tall buildings
4. Contains a lot of light and spacious interior
6. Ornate details
7. Flying Buttress
Gothic Architecture Characteristics
A flying Buttress is an important innovation for Gothic architecture because it allowed for the construction of taller buildings
- Gives the wall extra support to the building
- Commonly seen in European styles
- Gave architects the ability for taller and wider buildings
- Allowed for more intricate designs
- Allowed for large windows
- Really emphasizes vertical weight on building
The Gothic style lasted from the 12th-16th century. Particular periods within Goth styled architecture include:
-Early Gothic years: 1200-1300
-High Gothic years :1350-1300
-Late Gothic : 15th Century
-Gothic revival: mid –late 1800s
Hester discovers that some supernatural force is playing the organ when she" opened the organ and noticed it was all broken inside ."( page 1265)
"But the days grew shorter and shorter; and the old lord, it it was he, played away more and more stormily and sadly on the great organ" ( Page 1266)
Miss Rosamond Becomes Involved
While looking out the window at the snow, Miss.Rosamond noticed a little girl outside.
" ' This little girl beckoned to me to come out,'and oh she was so pretty and so sweet, I could not choose but go. ' " ( Page 1268)
Hester didn't believe her because...
"I tracked you by your foot marks through the snow ,there were only yours to be seen: and if you had had a little girl to go hand -in hand with you up the hill, don't you think the footprints would have gone along with yours? ( page 1268)
" ' ... but she held my hand fast and tight... and it was very ,very cold. She took me up the Felt path... and there I saw a lady weeping and crying; but when she saw me she hushed her weeping and smiled very proud... and took me on her knees and began to lull me to sleep; and that's all Hester...' " ( page 1268)
The Truth Revealed...
Hester Tells the story to Miss.Furnivall
Miss.Furnivall's response: " Hester! Keep her away from that child!It will lure her to her death! That evil child! Tell her it is a wicked ,naughty child." ( Page 1269)
Another Miss Rosamond Encounter
Miss. Rosamond looks out the window and notices the little girl in the snow "dressed all unfit to be out of doors... crying and beating against the window pains... Miss.Rosamond tries to let the child in. While doing so "the great organ pealed out so loud and thundering." ( Page 1269
Hester mentions how she" heard no sound of little battering hands upon the window-glass, although the Phantom Child had seemed to put fort hall its force... no faintest touch of sound had fallen upon my ears." ( Page 1270)
It All Makes Sense Now...
Dorothy tells the story of Miss.Maude.After giving birth to a baby girl, the relationship with her sister Miss.Grace worsens. Miss. Maude's husband leaves her.( Page 1272 Summary)
The lord becomes outraged by such news. "He yells ,curses, and hurts the child , then kicked Miss.Maude and her child out of the house . ( Page 1272 Summary)
"'The shepherds ... found Miss Maude sitting , all crazy and smiling, under the holly trees , nursing a dead child,-with a terrible mark on its right shoulder ...But that was not what killed it ... it was the frost and the cold.'" ( Page 1272)
"One night, just after New Year's Day had come at last... the old lord had been playing wilder than ever..." ( Page 1273)
Miss Furnivall suddenly states "I hear terrible screams- I hear my father's voice!" ( page 1273)
Miss.Rosamond awakens and states " My little girl is crying ,oh how she is crying!" She attempts to run over to the door to let the girl in , but fails. ( Page 1273)
Voices and screams began to fill the air as they (Mrs.Stark, Miss. Furnivall, Miss.Rosamond, and Hester) ran out of the room. ( Page 1273)
And it All Unfolds
As they pass the east wing, "the east door shook, and she (Miss Rosamond)... cried," ' Hester! I must go! My littler girl is there ; I hear her; she is coming! Hester , I must go!"( Page 1273)
"All at once , the east door gave way with a thundering crash... and there came... the figure of a tall old man, with grey hair and gleaming eyes. He drove before him , with many a relentless gesture of abhorrence , a stern and beautiful woman, with a little child clinging to her dress." (Page 1274)
Miss Rosamond recognizes the woman and child from the Fells . She begs Hester to let her go , but Hester refuses . ( Page 1274)
"....the lady turned; and I could see that she defied the old man with a fierce and proud defiance; but then she quailed- and then she threw up her arms wildly and piteously to save her child... from a blow from his uplifted crutch." ( Page 1274
Miss.Rosamond feels compelled to go with the ghosts ( Page 1274)
" ...When the tall old man... was going ot strike the little shrinking child - Miss. Furnivall ... cried out ,' Oh father !Father! Spare the little innocent child!' " ( Page 1274)
"But just then ... we all saw - another phantom shape itself, and grow clear out of the blue and misty light that filled the hall... for it was another lady who stood by the old man... That figure was very beautiful to look upon... I had seen that figure before.It was the likeness of Miss.Furnivall in her youth." (Page 1274)
"... and the uplifted crutch fell on the right shoulder of the little child ...and Miss.Furnivall lay at our feet stricken down by the palsy- death -stricken." ( Page 1274)
• The nurse
• She narrated the story
• Started as a schoolgirl at the village school but was
asked to be the caregiver for Miss Rosamond
• Moved to the Furnivall Manor where she took
care of Miss Rosamond
• The child that Hester took care of
• Both of her parents died so she moved to
the Furnivall manor with Hester
• She and Hester spent the majority of their time together.
• “I would have gone with that child to the
end of the world.”(Page 1261)
• Maid and servant to Miss Furnivall
• Lived with Miss Furnivall since they were
young and became more of her friend than servant.
• Got angry with Hester when Miss Rosamond ventured
off which caused Hester to never leave Miss Rosamond’s
James and Dorothy:
• Lived in the manor
• Made Hester and Miss Rosamond feel
welcome in the Manor
• Dorothy and Miss Rosamond become very close when they first moved there
• The kitchen maid in the Manor
• Told Hester who was playing the organ
• Dead father of the Furnivall sisters
• His ghost supposedly played the organ
• When he was still alive, he had a great appreciation for music
• Banned his own daughter from his house
Miss Grace/ Miss Furnivall
• The younger Furnivall sister
• Got the Old Lord to banish her older sister from the house
• Towards the end of the story, we learn that she felt remorse
for what she did to her sister
• Got pregnant with the foreigner’s baby
(the man who brought the Old Lord his organ)
• Jealous of her sister, the two did not get along
• Her and her daughter were banished from the Manor
• Her and her daughter haunted Miss Rosamond and the
• Daughter of Miss Maude and the foreigner
• Haunted Miss Rosamond and lured her out to the Fells where
she came close to death
Born in 1810 in Chelsea, just outside of London.
Her family advocated religious tolerance and rejected the Trinity (Unitarianism)
When Gaskell was one year old, her mother died and she was sent to Knutsford, a town in England, to be raised by her aunt.
Gaskell was one of eight children, however, only her and her brother John survived.
John disappeared during a trip to India.
Elizabeth Gaskell Continued
Elizabeth married a man named William Gaskell at the age of 21.
William was a Unitarian minister and for the first ten year of the marriage, Gaskell aided William in his duties at the church.
Together, they had five children. However, her fourth child and only son died at that age of one.
After the death of her son, Elizabeth's husband encouraged her to write to help with the grief.
She wrote many novels including "Mary Burton," "Cranford," "Wives and Daughters," and "North and South."
Madalyn Russek, Cassidy Donehoo, Brianna Roth
By: Sydney Cantalupo
The imagery brings out the supernatural elements
“the windows were darkened by the sweeping boughs of the trees, and the ivy which had overgrown them”
The description of the house brings a Gothic element to the story, giving it a haunted creepy house feel like any other scary story
“it was the old lord playing on the great organ in the hall, just as he used to do when he was alive; but who the old lord was or why he played, and why he played on stormy winter evenings in particular, she either could not or would not tell me.”
The image of the old lord playing gives the story a scary element creating the whole ghost story feeling, that the place is haunted.
“she held my hand fast and tight in her little one and it was very, very cold. she took me up the fell-path up to the holly trees; and there I saw a lady weeping and crying; but when she saw me, she hushed her weeping, and smiled very proud and grand, and took me on her knew and began to lull me to sleep”
“I saw a little girl… dressed all unfit to be out-of-doors such a bitter night—crying, and beating against the window panes, as if she wanted to be let in. she seemed to sob and wail… was flying to the door to open it, when all of a sudden, and close upon us, the great organ pealed out so loud and thundering.
The little girl beating against the window shows an emotional attachment to the ghost that her being outside was something she had no choice in. The organ playing loudly during it shows that the little ghost girl summoned the old lord through some anger connection because he is playing "loud and thundering".
“battering to get in, yet always without any noise-with the dark wound on its right shoulder”
The imagery of the little girls shoulder shows the discrimination and abuse towards her. it also brings the element of racism, because she is the product of a Caucasian and a foreigner.
-The sisters were in love with the same man; caused jealousy from the sister that did not win his love
-Miss Grace revealed the secret of her sister and her foreigner husband; and their child
- After Miss Grace has her sister revealed to her father, he beats the child and threw out the foreigner and his daughter
- Miss Grace died of guilt over being the reason for her sister's death; the father also died one year after throwing his daughter and her husband out
Racism- the father beat the child for the fact that her was biracial
Ghost- represents the inability to run away from your past
One can not take back what they did in the past because the past is part of the present. For example, the guilt from the past remained present in Miss Grace until the day of her death.