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The Signalman and The Red Room are well known examples of nineteenth

Satisfactory Essays
The Signalman and The Red Room are well known examples of nineteenth

century ghost stories

How effectively do the authors of “The Red Room” and “The Signalman”

create a sense of suspense in the story

"The Signalman" and "The Red Room" are well known examples of

nineteenth century ghost stories. The Signalman by Charles Dickens was

written in 1865, which was the time of developing literacy. This short

story was presented in three parts as it was previously in a

periodical form; this technique was also used to create suspense and

therefore leaves the reader at a cliff hanger after each episode,

which in turn motivates the reader to read on. There were many rumors

about this story as many people suggested that Dickens wrote this

story as a remembrance of the day he was involved in a railway

accident which killed ten people. Furthermore, He was writing in the

Victorian times, when there was a massive change in technology as new

inventions were created, e.g. the Train.

In comparison The Red Room was written only thirty years later in 1894

by HG Wells although it feels more timeless. At that time technology

had improved intensely, nevertheless Wells still imitated the old

fashion gothic literature style writing, which is ironic, due to the

time. Both stories have managed to engage its audience by creating

suspense and tension. Besides that both stories have been written in

first person, this in sequence makes it sinister, in a way because we

get to know the narrator’s impressions and feelings.

The authors of both stories have selected discomforting places in

which to set their story, they are made more eerie because that in the

19th century time many people believed in ghosts and the supernatural.

First of all The Signalman is located in a very isolated place, as the

narrator describes “as solitary and dismal a place as I ever saw” This

suggest that it is a remote, despondent place which is suitable for

the supernatural to exist. Before even meeting the Signalman, the

narrator says “steeped in the glow of an angry sunset” and “so little

sunlight that it had an earthy, deadly smell” the use of

pathetic-fallacy and symbolism suggests that it’s getting dark and

describes a sense of imminent death. The reader is also told it is

“this great dungeon” the oxymoron used suggests confinement; a place

where it’s hard to escape, this therefore makes it more sinister in a

way as dungeons are dark and cold and give a sense of fear.

The darkness prominently reduces visibility between the narrator and

the signalman as said “'I was near enough to have touched him” and
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