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An Essay Comparing the Different Techniques Used In Supernatural/Horror Stories

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An Essay Comparing the Different Techniques Used In Supernatural/Horror Stories Compare and contrast the techniques Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle employ in order to create a supernatural/horror story. 'The Signalman', 'The Red Room' and 'The Clubfooted Grocer' were all written before 1914. During the time in which they were written, gothic literature was very popular. All three short stories have many associations with gothic tradition. These include; gloomy settings, mysterious characters, strange noises, language that makes the ordinary seem strange, association with death and dying and twists in the tale. Each author uses the techniques in different ways to create a horror story. The settings in all three stories are spooky and gloomy. 'The Signalman' is set by a railway line. In the 1980's, the railway was a very recent invention, it was cutting edge technology. Dickens' chosen setting was a very contempory touch. Dickens describes the setting in great detail, making use of all five senses. He uses the sense of touch, smell and hearing very effectively: "Clammy stone, that became oozier and wetter." Dickens' use of words makes the setting seem grotesque and disgusting. ...read more.


This was obviously a strange request and it makes the readers wonder and question about the sailor and his part in the story. The description of the sailor smoking his pipe, a pleasant and "homely" pastime is described as something almost supernatural: "And, then a face, illuminated by the glowing bowl of a pipe, came floating towards us. The man was all shadow, but just one dim halo of light with the face which filled it, brighter below and shading away into darkness above stood out against the universal blackness." This striking visual image of a ghostly, floating head dehumanises the sailor who, like the signalman in Dickens' story, appears more like "a spirit than a man". In all three stories the reader is introduced to a number of mysterious characters; particularly in 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room'. In both of these stories, none of the characters are given names. In 'The Signalman', the narrator really has no reason for being by the railway line. It is a complete mystery as to why he is there. When the narrator is told about the ghost, instead of being scared, his is happy and excited: "Thrill that seized upon me." ...read more.


When Steven Maple gets the diamonds, he doesn't sell them for money, but stores them away safely in his shoes. This is therefore an unanswered question and doesn't really make sense. It also doesn't make sense that the man got out of prison early. It brings up questions such as "Why did he get out early?" In conclusion, all three stories include the ingredients of a supernatural/horror story. Each author uses different techniques in order to create suspense and terror. I think Dickens' most successful technique is the mysterious characters. This is because he gives enough detail and description for the reader to get to know the character yet there is still a sense of strangeness. In 'The Red Room' H.G. Wells has used a lot of personification which is a very effective technique and makes not only the characters, but the setting come to life. Arthur Conan Doyle uses the gloomy setting; this is very successful because it clearly shows where things are taking place. This and the mysterious characters make the story strange and weird and it gives you a sense of sympathy towards Stephen Maple at the end when everything doesn't go as he planned. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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