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Ghost Cat by Donna Hill: A Review
If you are looking for a short and spooky story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you might want to check out Ghost Cat by Donna Hill. This is a story about a family that moves into a haunted house and encounters a mysterious feline that seems to have a connection with their deceased father. In this article, I will give you a summary of the story, an analysis of its elements, and some reasons why you should read it.
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What is Ghost Cat?
Ghost Cat is one of the seven stories in Eerie Animals, a collection of tales by Donna Hill that features weird and uncanny creatures. It was first published in 1983 and has been reprinted several times since then. It is a horror story that blends realism and fantasy, and explores themes such as grief, family, and memory.
Who is Donna Hill?
Donna Hill is an American author who has written over 20 books for children and young adults. She is best known for her mystery and suspense novels, such as The House on Cherry Street and The Roommate. She has also written historical fiction, such as The Titanic Sinks! and The Hindenburg Explodes! She lives in New York City with her husband and two cats.
Summary of the Story
The Main Characters
The story focuses on three siblings: Mark, Lisa, and Amy. Mark is the oldest and the most skeptical of the supernatural. He likes to read science fiction and play chess. Lisa is the middle child and the most adventurous. She likes to explore new places and make friends. Amy is the youngest and the most sensitive. She misses her father who died in a car accident a year ago.
The other important character is the ghost cat, a black-and-white cat that appears and disappears in the house. It seems to have a special bond with Amy, who believes it is her father's spirit. The cat helps the children solve the mystery of the house and protect them from danger.
The story begins with the family moving into a new house in the countryside. They inherited it from their uncle who died recently. The house is old and creepy, and has a history of being haunted by ghosts. The children soon notice strange noises and smells in the house, and find clues that suggest someone else has been living there.
One night, Amy sees a ghost cat in her room. She follows it to the attic, where she finds a secret passage that leads to a hidden room. There, she discovers a diary that belongs to their uncle's wife, who died many years ago. The diary reveals that their uncle was involved in a cult that practiced black magic and human sacrifice. He killed his wife and tried to summon an evil spirit, but failed.
The next day, Mark and Lisa join Amy in exploring the hidden room. They find more evidence of their uncle's dark deeds, such as skulls, candles, and pentagrams. They also find out that their uncle had a son who disappeared when he was young. They suspect that he was one of his victims.
That night, they hear a loud thud in the attic. They rush there and see their uncle's ghost standing over a pentagram. He tells them that he has been waiting for them to complete his ritual. He says that he needs their blood to summon the evil spirit and gain eternal life. He grabs a knife and lunges at them.
The ghost cat appears and attacks their uncle, distracting him. The children run out of the room and lock the door behind them. They hear their uncle scream and the cat hiss. They realize that the cat has sacrificed itself to stop their uncle.
The next morning, they find the attic empty and the hidden room sealed. They also find a note from their father, who says that he sent the cat to protect them. He says that he loves them and that he will always be with them. The children hug each other and cry.
The story explores several themes, such as:
Grief: The children are still coping with the loss of their father, who died unexpectedly. They have different ways of expressing their emotions, such as denial, anger, or sadness. They also have different beliefs about the afterlife, such as reincarnation, heaven, or nothingness.
Family: The children are close to each other and support each other in times of trouble. They also learn more about their family history and heritage, such as their uncle's past and their father's secret. They realize that family is not only defined by blood, but also by love.
Memory: The children are haunted by memories of their father, who appears in their dreams and in the form of the cat. They also discover memories of their uncle's wife, who left behind a diary and a portrait. They learn that memory can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how it is used.
Analysis of the Story
The Writing Style
The story is written in a simple and clear language that is easy to understand and follow. It uses short sentences and paragraphs that create a fast-paced and suspenseful tone. It also uses descriptive words and imagery that evoke the senses and emotions of the reader. For example:
"The house was dark and silent. The only sound was the wind whistling through the cracks in the walls. The only light came from the moon shining through the dusty windows."
The story also uses dialogue and narration to show the personality and perspective of each character. For example:
"'It's just a stupid old house,' Mark said. 'There's nothing to be afraid of.'
'Then why are you shaking?' Lisa asked.
'I'm not shaking,' Mark lied. 'It's cold in here.'
Amy said nothing. She was too scared to speak."
The story uses symbolism to convey deeper meanings and messages. Some of the symbols are:
The ghost cat: It represents the spirit of their father, who watches over them and guides them. It also represents courage, loyalty, and sacrifice, as it fights their uncle and saves them.
The hidden room: It represents the secrets and sins of their uncle, who hid his evil deeds from the world. It also represents danger, fear, and death, as it contains his tools and victims.
The diary: It represents the voice and memory of their uncle's wife, who tells her story and warns them of her husband's plans. It also represents truth, justice, and hope, as it exposes his crimes and helps them escape.
The story conveys several messages, such as:
Good vs Evil: The story shows the contrast between good and evil characters, such as their father vs their uncle, or the cat vs the ghost. It also shows that good can triumph over evil, even if it requires sacrifice.
Love vs Hate: The story shows the difference between love and hate relationships, such as their father's love for them vs their uncle's hate for them, or their love for each other vs their uncle's love for himself. It also shows that love can heal wounds, while hate can cause harm.
Life vs Death: The story shows the cycle of life and death, such as their father's death vs their uncle's attempt to cheat death, or the cat's death vs their survival. It also shows that life is precious and should be cherished, while death is inevitable and should be accepted.
Why You Should Read Ghost Cat
You should read Ghost Cat by Donna Hill because it is a well-written and engaging story that will keep you hooked from start to finish. It has a captivating plot, relatable characters, and meaningful themes that will make you think and feel. It is also a short story that you can finish in one sitting, making it perfect for a quick read.
Q: What is the genre of Ghost Cat?
A: Ghost Cat is a horror story that mixes elements of realism and fantasy. It belongs to the subgenre of haunted house stories, which feature buildings that are inhabited by ghosts or other supernatural entities.
Q: How long is Ghost Cat?
A: Ghost Cat is a short story that has about 5,000 words. It can be read in about 20 minutes.
Q: Where can I find Ghost Cat?
A: Ghost Cat is part of the collection Eerie Animals: Seven Stories by Donna Hill, which was published by Scholastic in 1983. You can buy it online or borrow it from a library.
Q: What are some other stories by Donna Hill?
A: Donna Hill has written many stories for children and young adults, mostly in the genres of mystery and suspense. Some of her popular titles are The House on Cherry Street, The Roommate, The Titanic Sinks!, The Hindenburg Explodes!, and The Mystery of the Missing Dog.
Q: What inspired Donna Hill to write Ghost Cat?
A: Donna Hill has said that she loves cats and has always been fascinated by their mysterious and independent nature. She also likes to write stories that explore the relationship between humans and animals, especially when they involve paranormal or supernatural elements.
I hope you enjoyed reading my article. If you have any feedback or questions, please let me know. I'm always happy to hear from you. 71b2f0854b