Truman Capote's Portrayal Of Ghosts In A Short Story

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Everyone loves a good ghost story, and short stories with ghosts in them are no exception. What makes short ghost stories so great are not necessarily the ghosts themselves, but the living characters they haunt. Short story writers use ghosts, apparitions and visions as a literary device to challenge the living characters’ denial about their circumstances, and assist with their grief. One of the most common reasons a ghost in a short story haunts a living character is the living character is in great denial about something or someone. “Miriam” by Truman Capote is a good example of one of those short stories. In the story, a late middle-aged woman named Mrs. H.T. Miller lives a simple yet isolated life in her apartment since her husband passed away. “The other people in the house never seemed to notice her…” (Capote, 66). Mrs. Miller lives such a plain life that she is as invisible as a ghost, which is very noteworthy for she is soon haunted by what is arguably an apparition who she shares a name with.
Mrs. Miller first meets Miriam while standing in line at the box office. This is the first description of Miriam:
Her hair was the longest and strangest Mrs. Miller had ever
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On the day of the tragic event, the doctor gives Shaila calming pills, but she claims it is not a peaceful calm that she is feeling. “Sound can reach me, but my body is tensed, ready to scream. I hear their voices all around me. I hear my boys and Vikram cry, ‘Mommy, Shaila!’ and their screams insulate me, like headphones” (Mukherjee, 557). Right after learning about the possible deaths of her husband and sons, she is already being haunted by their voices. This will not be the last time she is haunted by her

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