''Feelings like shame and guilt are given to us for a purpose. They're there to let us know when we've done something that is damaging and is wrong and we need to take steps to remedy it. The reason we have fear is so that we can judge situations and make appropriate responses. So if you take that function away from people, you make them less capable of existing efficiently and effectively in the world.'' John Marsden expresses how a life devoid of fear is one that has been brought up in the wrong way. Horror stories for students in the middle school years should not be avoided as to shield the students from a new form of intellect. Horror stories like The Tell-Tale Heart from Edgar Allen Poe, are not inappropriate for middle school students.
Like any other genre, horror stories immerse the mind of the reader into new literature, each word of great purpose and significance. Horror stories are not too scary for students of the middle school age because they need core writing styles, such as symbolism, in their arsenal of writing tools. These skills will be of importance for understanding figurative language and symbolic sentences. An example of this would be in The Masque of The Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe when it is stated “These windows were of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example, in blue --and vividly blue were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were purple...The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in the heavy folds upon the carpet of the same material hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes were scarlet --a deep blood color.” The coloration of the rooms symbolizes the stages of life with the seventh room being death. Many traditional horror stories have symbolism that will help aspiring writers become more unique. Some people believe that fear should be avoided for what it causes, such as traumas. While this may be true in some cases, John Marsden from the article “Why Scary Stories Are Good For Kids” believes otherwise, stating “Fears provide particularly fertile ground for writers. ‘Those fears come out of the unconscious mind, which is always more interesting than the conscious mind,’ he says. ‘They're not to be dismissed. They're to be engaged with and possibly even used creatively.’” Fear inducing stories can be used in many ways to integrate new forms of literature in writing. Horror stories such as The Masque Of The Red Death are not too mature for middle school students because it leads to advancements in the students writing skills and understandings.
Maturity progresses with the experiences a child is given and the fundamentals learned. As children learn and grow, they become more experienced with things such a fear. Children begin to learn how to differentiate irrational fears, such as those in horror stories, at around the age of 6. In “How Much Scary Is Too Much Scary For Kids?”, Dr. George states “‘Around the age of 7, kids start to become more aware of what’s ‘real’ and what isn’t,’ said Dr. George. ‘By age 10, most kids have a firm grasp of the difference between fantasy and reality and can go through the mental process of telling themselves they don’t need to be scared in a certain scenario because it’s not real.’” Given that Dr. George states how ten-year-olds are mature enough for scary stories, this can be applied to middle schoolers in the same way. Some people believe that scary stories can lead to phobias. While this can happen, it will seldom happen to those in the middle school ages. This is due to the cognitive ability to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Experience plays a big role in whether to show students horror texts, but middle school students have the maturity.
Horror stories create an interesting situation for the readers to follow making it an enjoyable genre to read from. According to “Why Scary Stories Are Good For Kids”, Nick Falk stated “‘The physiological fear response is very similar to the physiological response you get when you're excited,’ Falk says. ‘The rapidly beating heart, the tingling in the fingers … the racing thoughts.’ It's an enjoyable, temporary state.” The state you are in when reading a horror story is similar to one when you are on a roller coaster. Invigorated, with thoughts racing through your mind. Another example of this would be in The Tell-Tale Heart when is shows “It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! --do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst...With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once --once only.” The intensity of the conflict proves to be captivating to readers, making them want to read more of the story. Some people believe that if the story becomes intense, then children will simply put down the book. This does pose to be true in some cases, but in most, the invigorating tale will turn the pages for them.