The Ghost Friend: A Tale Type in Film and Literature

Mystery Harwood (University of Louisiana, Lafayette)

In this paper I argue for the existence of a modern tale type called the “ghost-friend tale,” traceable from Pliny the Younger’s tale of Athenodorus in first century Rome all the way to current works like the 2021 film The Power. Using two examples of this tale type, Mary Downing Hahn’s 1986 juvenile fiction novel Wait Till Helen Comes and Robert Zemeckis’s 2000 film What Lies Beneath, I explore the folkloric nature of the tale, which lies in a shared morphological base, bank of accompanying motifs and parallel narratives, and range of thematic concerns.

Part of V5-02 Ghost and Found, Thursday, October 12, 10:30 am–12:30 pm