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A comparison of the two short stories 'A Difference' and 'The Red Room'

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A comparison of the two short stories 'A Difference' and 'The Red Room' The two short stories, 'A Difference', written by David Belbin in 1990, and 'The Red Room' a story by H. G. Wells in 1896, have many variances. As the stories were written in different centuries, there is an expectancy that they would differ in terms of setting, theme and character. Probably one of the most highly contrasted aspects of both stories, is the type of language used by the authors, mainly as English terminology has grown and modified throughout the centuries. However, as both are thrillers, there are some strong similarities in method used to create suspense and mystery. 'The Red Room' is narrated in the third person and tells the story of a curious young man talking with a group of very old people. Why he's in the castle and what has happened is unknown. The elderly characters relate a myth about a haunted room. Unconvinced, he ventures into 'The Red Room'. He lights many candles and dots them around the room. The candles start to go out one-by-one. He re-lights them but again they are extinguished. This continues and each time he becomes more scared. As his fear increases, he starts to panic and finally he runs into a beam of wood and is knocked unconscious. When he wakes up, he finds himself surrounded by the old people who tell him what happened. A ghost, in the first person, narrates 'A Difference'. ...read more.


This extra detail provides greater incitement and interest, which can evidently be seen in both stories. Secondly, in both short stories, both main and secondary characters play an important role in building atmosphere. In 'The Red Room', the main character is a very inquisitive young man. You could assume he is confident by the way he expresses himself, "I can assure you, that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me." This could almost be arrogant. Obviously, the old people know far more about the history of the room than the young man. When one of them says, "A many things to see and sorrow for...", you almost know for sure that the young man is in for trouble if he enters the room. Of what trouble you're not aware, adding to the sense of mystery. Throughout 'The Red Room', the young man experiences an increasing psychological madness, the seeds of which were originally planted by the ancient people before he entered the room. It makes you wonder whether the old people were innocent - warning him not to enter; or they were menacing - tempting him to enter by tantalizing his natural curiosity with an intriguing tale. Young people are more likely to be adventurous as they are unaware and unconcerned of the dangers that may lie ahead of them. But why did the old people not warn him more enthusiastically about the dreadful outcome? Was it because they wanted to teach him a lesson or something more sinister? ...read more.


The main symbolic word used in 'The Red Room', is obviously, "Red". This can have so many different meanings, as for example: danger, fire and even death. Such vivid symbolism creates a great amount of anticipation and suspense. This can make it more exciting for the reader, as he/she can make his own predictions before and during the story. In 'A Difference', symbolism is rare, but effective, as for example, "spiritual". This represents a ghostly presence throughout the story, which ultimately makes the reader feel as if he's on the outside and looking in. This takes away some of the tension and uncertainty that occurs in the other story, and gives the reader an entirely different perception. In conclusion, the setting in 'The Red Room', is clearly described to bringing a closed feeling that is highly effective. But in 'A Difference', the setting is the opposite, giving an open, cold and blurred perspective of the story, as if to provide a spiritual ambience. Language in 'A Difference', is modern, which would be expected from any story of this day and age. But the language in 'The Red Room' is very old and sometimes confusing, which helps provide a haunted atmosphere just by the thought of the gothic period in which this story was written in. The quests that the two protagonists are enduring are completely different; one is about getting revenge and helping an innocent family, and the other is purely to do with curiosity, adventure and voracity for fear and excitement. Jack Conway 11XY English Coursework Mr. Oliver ...read more.

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