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.
... 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.
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