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19th Century Short Stories Essay

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Introduction

19th Century Short Stories Essay! Introduction Over the past five weeks, I have been studying four 19th century horror stories, and in this essay I am going to compare three of them and discuss the link between them. I will also be giving my opinions of the stories. The 19th century was the period of popularity with horror stories and all the stories include elements of horror in different ways. People enjoyed being frightened at this time, and the popularity has carried on to the present time. Today, horror stories and rollercoasters are as popular as ever. I will be discussing my three chosen stories - "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens, "The Monkeys Paw" by WW Jacobs and "The Red Room" by HG Wells - and say whether I think they would be more successful for a Victorian or modern audience. Main Body The first story we studied was "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens. Your attention is automatically drawn to what is going to happen, by the title of the story. You already know that the story is going to relate to the signalman somehow but we are unsure as to how. Also, the title 'signal' indicates to me warnings and danger, so we could assume that something bad is going to happen. The story tries to grab your attention by creating a lot of mystery and suspense throughout the story. The narrator gives clues that something strange has happened or is going to happen, by the way the signalman acts towards him. We know that the narrator suspects something weird is going on, when he calls the signalman, but instead of looking at him, he looked down the line as though he was expecting someone. "But instead of looking up to where I stood on the top of the steep cutting nearly over his head, he turned himself about, and looked down the line". ...read more.

Middle

There are a lot of characters in the story, and it would be difficult to feel everyone's emotions and fear if it was just one person telling the story. You get to know what the characters are like in the first couple of paragraphs. Mr. White is described as quite a sociable man to his guest but can also seem quite angry and intolerant at times. "That's the worst of living so far out, bawled Mr. White, with sudden and un-looked violence". This gives the impression that he can become quite violent and aggressive for no reason, but we have no proof of that yet. Mr. White's wife, however, seems like a very calm and friendly character, although this does change towards the end. "Never mind, dear, said his wife soothingly; perhaps you'll win the next one". This shows that she tries to keep her husband nice and calm, and the word 'soothingly' shows that she doesn't overreact and takes things in her stride. Mr. and Mrs. White also seem very close to their son, as the old man is playing a game with him in the first paragraph. The fact that they are just a family makes you feel quite sorry for them when all the bad things start happening to them. The sergeant-major is described as "rubicund of visage" which shoes he is very healthy looking and takes care of himself. This also suggests that, even though there is nothing wrong with him at the time, something could happen to him later in the story. As well as this, we also know that he is quite superstitious to believe what he has heard about the monkey's paw. The writer makes us want to read on by causing a lot of suspense throughout the story. At the beginning, we are told about the monkey's paw and we know that it is going to have something to do with the plot already, from the title, but we don't know how. ...read more.

Conclusion

The writer uses personification to make it seem like the shadows are alive and that they are actually scared. The narrator thinks he's is beginning to hear things, and is starting to become paranoid, creating a lot of tension. HG Wells could have written this story to tell people that the fear is not all they see but what they interpret. He could be trying to tell us that people's imagination can take over sometimes, just like it did to the narrator. Conclusion Overall, all of the writers have created tension throughout the story, in many different ways. The main way this was done was by using pathetic fallacy. The weather creates mood and tension in the story and by the types of weather we can interpret what is about to happen. The writers also use their vocabulary to help frighten the reader. Some of the words used can help us picture what it is actually like, and creates tension, "dungeon", "deadly", "quiver". I think all three stories would have been popular with a Victorian audience. All of the stories include the elements of horror that people enjoyed reading about in those days. I also think "The Monkey's Paw" would have been good, as it includes supernatural happenings, and a lot of people, then, were in fact quite superstitious. However, I don't think "The Red Room" would be very popular with a modern day audience. People would enjoy reading "The Signalman" and "The Monkey's Paw" because it frightens the reader, which is exactly what they want from reading the story. And although"The Red Room" does frighten the reader, I personally think that the reader may be a little disappointed with the ending. I think, when someone, nowadays, reads or watches a horror story, they almost expect there to be ghostly or supernatural things happening. But when they realise that the whole time it was his imagination, I think they will lose interest in it quite quickly after. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jess Irving ...read more.

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