The Signalman by Charles Dickens and The Red Room by H.G. Wells Essay

The Signalman by Charles Dickens and The Red Room by H.G. Wells Essay

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The Signalman by Charles Dickens and The Red Room by H.G. Wells


'To be denied of information as a reader is far more powerful than to
know the truth.'

In this assignment I will be looking at the two short stories written
in the 1800’s: “The Red Room” by H.G.Wells where a man goes into an
apparently haunted room and although he is warned by other old
characters he does not listen and the tension builds up as he goes
into the room where fear gets the better of him in a room which might
not be haunted in the end. The other short story is “The Signalman” by
Charles Dickens. In The signalman a man lives separated from the real
world living a lonely life as a signal man at a train station and
thinks he might be being visited by a spectre. I will examine the
similarities and differences between them in content, style and
language and I will say something about the influences of the writers’
backgrounds and will be comparing how each story creates suspense and
tension within them.

Both stories fit in to the Gothic genre with different elements
associated with the conventions of a gothic genre. The gothic genre of
stories was brought to life in 1764 with Horace Walpole's 'The Castle
of Otranto' during the Victorian ages. It included the classic
conventions in the setting, atmosphere and story line mainly to create
an effect of suspense, tension and mystery used in the gothic genre
since then. The Red Room is the more typical Gothic genre and Wells
makes it clear how ancient and old fashioned everything is in the
castle and includes spiral staircases, secret passages, a suspected
ghost haunted room and an eerie atmosphere. Gothic literature attempts
to terrify the reader and it nearly always involves the su...


... middle of paper ...


...n
The Signalman descends the cutting and when, looking at the signalman
whose actions are very weird and in The Red Room how the old people
warn the young man not to go in the room. Suspense is also created as
the signalman tells the gentleman of the weird happenings recently and
in The Red Room how tension is built while he stays in the room for
longer. The settings are very mysterious and quite typical of the
gothic genre and are even prone to unexplainable events happening.
They use the characters' actions, language and the atmosphere in
different ways to add to the suspense and tension. Dickens' story is
based on a more contemporary idea. Both writers also include first
person narrative adding up to make two suspense filled stories and
keep the overall idea that:

'To be denied of information as a reader is far more powerful than to
know the truth.'

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