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Quotes

Quote #1

"Eight-and-twenty years," said I, "I have lived, and never a ghost have I seen as yet." (3)

The narrator makes clear early on that he’s skeptical of ghosts. This immediately makes the reader wonder whether his opinion will change before the night is over, setting off the story’s supernatural thread. The narrator’s mention of his age also makes it easy to peg him as an inexperienced whippersnapper who doesn’t believe in ghosts. Which is what the old woman does. So this comment also triggers the old vs. young contrast of the story.

Quote #2

Well," I said, "if I see anything to-night, I shall be so much the wiser. For I come to the business with an open mind." (5)

The narrator claims that he’s "open-minded" on the subject of ghosts. But this isn’t true, as we see from his reaction to the older people. Maybe he’s just saying it to appease his audience.

Quote #3

They seemed to belong to another age, an older age, an age when things spiritual were different from this of ours, less certain; an age when omens and witches were credible, and ghosts beyond denying. Their very existence was spectral; the cut of their clothing, fashions born in dead brains. (28)

Here is where we see the judgmental side of the narrator. He thinks that any belief in the "supernatural" is an obsolete superstition from a past age. The old people belong to that age. He doesn’t. In his opinion, they have "dead brains." In other words, no rational or sensible person would believe in ghosts or goblins.

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