19th Century Texts

Satisfactory Essays
What features are disturbing or reassuring in your selection of 19th

century texts?

The nineteenth century produced many of the very best authors of all

time in all genres such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens and

H.G. Wells. Although they made fame in their originality, many factors

coincided in their writing and formed the base for characters and

storylines. It was these influences which in a way made their stories

and novels more interesting to delve into as they opposed disturbing

and reassuring features to create points of discussion.

During the 19th century, many controversial changes took place. In

terms of science, there was a significant rise in interest and

development especially after the outbreak of many diseases, none more

so than the deadly bacteria of cholera. Cholera was an infectious

epidemic and had many types though all of which were infectious and

many of which were most disturbingly fatal. Cholera caused slowing of

the blood circulation and was not caused by any form of consumption

but was essentially spread from immigrants who had caught the disease

in filthy, overcrowded ships. We see this particular aspect heavily

dominant in ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ by H.G. Wells overlapping with other

prevailing issues such as personality disorders and the inevitable

destabilisation of society through anarchism and the will to oppose

moral rights.

Other factors which affected the content of our other two chosen texts

- ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and

‘Hop frog’ by Edgar Allan Poe – were also very prominent in the 19th

century. Doyle’s short story was subjected to the simultaneous aspects

of the British Empire and India, the concern of power by reason of

gender, the sure decline of British aristocracy and once again the

topic of personality disorders inspiring murder. Poe’s story binds

personality disorders inspiring murder and power relationships.

All three of our studied texts provided many disturbing aspects from

start to finish and I felt that these overpowered the reassuring

facets in many patches of the three stories. We saw intensified

atmospheres simply through the settings and characters as the authors

manipulated these features to generate greater interest. For example,

‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’ is mainly set in Stoke Moran, a

‘200 year old house’, ‘grey, lichen-blotched stone, with a high

central and two curving wings, like the claws of a crab, thrown out on

each side. In one of these wings the windows were broken and blocked

with wooden boards while the roof was partly caved in, a picture of

ruin.’ This mansion I feel provides a very disturbing setting

especially one in which a murder has taken place as it provides no
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