Common themes in the stories of the nineteenth century are horror,
mystery and the unexplained. This is because in the Victorian times,
people were concerned with problems such as superstition and
witchcraft. Common features of Victorian short stories are paranoid
characters. The stories ‘The Withered Arm’, ‘The Red Room’ and ‘The
Signalman’ teach a modern audience the results and consequences of
superstition and paranoia.
The Withered Arm was written by Thomas Hardy. It is about a woman who
is trying to bring up her illegitimate son while she tries to overcome
her jealousy as her sons father brings home his new beautiful wife.
The main message that Thomas Hardy is trying to get across to the
reader is that you should be careful what you wish for as it may come
true. Also that what goes around comes around. The main character in
this story is Rhoda Brook, the mother of farmer Lodges son. In the
story she is described as ‘a thin fading woman of thirty’ this shows
that she is slowly wasting away. Rhoda Brooks is a mysterious
character because the reader doesn’t know whether Rhoda is a witch or
not, Thomas Hardy doesn’t reveal this fact because it makes the story
mysterious and leaves the reader wondering. Another reason why Rhoda
is mysterious is because of relationship with farmer Lodge and their
baby together. Rhoda is also mysterious because she was once beautiful
‘The radiance lit her pale check, and made her dark eyes, that had
once been handsome, seem handsome anew.’
The Red Room was written by H.G Wells the story is about a man who is
trying to find out whether a room in the Lorraine castle is haunted or
not. The mess...
... middle of paper ...
...on, pathetic fallacy and has more descriptions in it.
Also because it enables the reader to visualise the settings better. I
think that the setting in The Signalman represent loneliness. The
setting in The Red Room represents paranoia and terror and the setting
in The Withered Arm represent fear and superstition.
Therefore, Victorian writers successfully created mysterious short
stories through using chapters, less characters and detailed setting.
The most effective story is The Withered Arm this is because it has
the most imaginative and interesting story line. Also because Thomas
Hardy doesn’t reveal everything to the reader as it lets them debate
over whether Rhoda is a witch or not. It shows a modern audience the
effects and consequences of superstition. The moral or message of the
story may have been be careful what you wish for as it may come true.
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