Comparison of The Red Room and The Signalman

983 Words4 Pages
Comparison of The Red Room and The Signalman. The two stories we were asked to compare had one common themes which were the building of fear and suspense throughout. One clear difference between the stories was the function of fear in the stories. In the 'The Red Room' the author does not only use fear as a means of evolving the story but also places it at the centre of the story. 'The Signalman' uses fear of the supernatural as a means of making the story more believable as done in 'The Red Room'. Although both stories are equally frightening, I feel that 'The Red Room' contains much more suspense than 'The Signalman', I think that the excess of suspense in 'The Red Room' is due to it having more characters and actions. Both stories are written as first person narrative, however, in 'The Red Room' the horrific events happen to the narrator himself, while in the 'The Signalman' the events are witnessed by the narrator while they actually happen to the Signalman. Both narrators seem to be well-educated, scientific men, which is typical of victorian times. Neither of them seems willing to believe in the supernatural. In 'The Red Room' the narrator does not believe the warnings of the inhabitants of the house concerning the supernatural content of the room, his over- confident belief in science makes him aroogant and he is then proven wrong. As for 'The Signalman' the narrator assumes that the Signalman is hallucinating, due to his life of solitude and depressing routines, when he hears of his visions of the spectre, he is similar to the narrator of 'The Red Room' as he is also arrogantly confident that there is a scientific explanation to his visions, and like him he is aslo proven wrong. Using t... ... middle of paper ... ...suitable atmosphere for the supernatural visitations which haunt the Signalman. This setting emphasises the solitude and uneasiness, making it ideal for the mysterious and dreadful events that follow. This helps prepare the reader for the catastrophe with which the story ends. A final similarity is how neither story ends with a proper scientific explanation, therefore neither of the narrators can use science as 'the answer' because what has happened through out the two stories has no scientific explanation. In my opinion, this leaves the readers with an uneasy feeling about the supernatural and the chaos it may cause. A fear of the supernatural lives deep inside some people, and not so deep in others. But stories such as these can cause even the most rational of people to wonder if there are things in the world which can not and should not be explained.
Open Document