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‘The Red Room’ by H.G. Wells and ‘The signalman’ by Charles Dickens.

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Joy Manuel Comparing Two Stories Pre 1900 Comparison In my essay, I will explain two short stories, and will illustrate the similarities and differences between them. The two stories are from the pre 1900 prose, and are called 'The Red Room' by H.G. Wells and 'The signalman' by Charles Dickens. The Red Room is about the narrator's experience when he visited a castle and he tells it as it happened. The owner of the room was called Lorraine Castle. His visit was due to the fact he wanted to visit a room in the castle named 'the red room'. In the beginning of the story, it is not known why the room was given the name. My thoughts were due to the fact that either the room itself was red, or the room was given that name due to something which happened in it which wasn't good. As when you think of red, blood comes to mind. He met with the owners of the castle, as the story begins, and the characters were as he describes; "Something inhuman in senility, something crouching and atavistic; the human qualities seem to drop from old people insensibly day by day." They were three elderly people, all strange in different ways. There were two old men, one with a withered arm, another with a bad throat, and an old woman. He felf uncomfortable in their presence; "The three of them made me feel uncomfortable, with their gaunt silences, their bent carriages, their evident unfriendliness, to me and to one another," The narrator in whose name was not given, asked permission to visit the room and stay there the night. The three tried to convince him not to, but willingly, the narrator urged, as his curiosity was much, and he wanted to know why everyone feared the room, and to face it himself. " 'I can assure you,' said I, 'that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me.' ...read more.


The first clue we get about what the story is about comes across in their conversation, where the narrator asks why the man seems as if he feared him. The man replied that it was because he was doubtful, whether or not he has seen him before. He points towards the red light and said that is where. They then descended towards the post (box) where the man stays, as his job was a signalman for the underground trains that passed. You know that the narrator knew something of this man's past. He talks of how the man studied philosophy, and had attended lectures; but he had run wild and misused his opportunities, as he was left with the rundown job as a signalman. He describes this as; "He made his bed, and he lay upon it. It was far too late to make another." The signalman whilst in conversation, went about he job as usual, and at two points, is described to of fallen with colour, turned his face towards the little bell when it did NOT ring, opened the door of the hut, and looked out towards the red light near the mouth of the tunnel. Then to end their first meeting, they set another time and date to meet at the same place. But there were many cautions and instructions the signalman gave. He noted not to call out at any time. He then asks what made the narrator call out, "Halloa! Bellow there!" He replies he doesn't know what made him do so. The signalman replies, "Not to that effect, sir. Those were the very words. I know them well." This gives out the idea that the signalman had heard them words before, and probably play an important part of the story, or the problem in which the signalman has. They wished each other goodnight and left it at that. ...read more.


The signalman had been at the mouth of the tunnel, whilst the man called out to him from the train, those horrific familiar words, "Below there! Look out! Look out! For God's sake clear the way!" But it was too late, the signalman was cut off by the engine. And that's how the story ends, with the narrator's note. " Without prolonging the narrative to dwell on any of its curious circumstances more than on any other, I may, in closing it, point out the coincidence that the warning of the engine-driver included, not only the words which the unfortunate signalman had repeated to me as haunting him, but also the words which I myself - not he- had attached, and that only in my mind, to the gesticulation he had imitated." This note was written as a perspective from a doctor, as a coincidence. As a man whom works with science, supernatural happenings, is no truth for him and his beliefs. As we could see, he looks at it all with medical explanations and coincidences. The two stories' similarities are how the scenes of the stories are set. Both in Pre 1900 prose, the scenes are eerie, mysterious, and have tense moments between characters with no real understanding of each other. The are both in dim, dull surroundings. Both stories hold mystery and anxiety till the end of the story, where all meaning is set out clear and told. Both stories end with the narrator's thought, which both actually conclude with no supernatural thought. Differences in the stories are where scenes are set. One is based inside and another outside. 'The signalman', has its character die. In 'The Red Room', the narrator brings us through the story with his shared emotion, feelings, thoughts and all. Openly showing were he was brave and in fear. The narrator in the signalman is a doctor, whom works in the world of medicine so does not believe in the natural world. He treated the signalman as his patient and showed very little to none fear at all, only very few times of doubt. ...read more.

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