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An Essay comparing three short stories, The Red Room", "The Club Footed Grocer" and "The Signalman"

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Introduction

An Essay comparing three short stories, "The Red Room", "The Club Footed Grocer" and "The Signalman" I will be examining how tension and suspense are created in three short stories. I will analyze the use of language, setting, and characters and plot to see where tension has been created for the reader. We are studying three stories, 'The Signalman', which is a pre-1900 Charles Dickens story, 'The Red Room', by H. C. Wells and "The Club Footed Grocer" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Charles Dickens would have written 'The Signalman' for a Victorian audience who were very interested in science and mystical events. So Dickens wrote the story with a supernatural mood and with the upper most intent to create fear for the reader. He has also written the story in a railway setting, which was central to Victorian life. This small setting goes in the same basis for the other two stories as they date back to the same period and stories in pre-nineteenth century were written like this. What this means is that the stories were similar in the way they where presented, as they were built around a small story setting. In the "Red Room" the enclosed location is the big house, and we do not have any contact with the outside world. This does not let the story expand much at all. ...read more.

Middle

This makes the reader curious of what that danger will be and whether the signalman will survive it. The ghost is also, "waving as I just showed you" and so you speculate why the ghost is waving but you will never know unless you read on to find out the answer. Also this creates tension at that point as the reader had to find out what happened next, hence has to read on. Dickens describes the Signalman as a mysterious man, which adds to the tension. We sense that the narrator is scared of the signalman. "Something in the man that daunted me". There is one main character in the shot story which was the signalman himself. The signalman's character is a very interesting one. The narrator found out that the signalman, "Had run wild, missed his opportunities, gone down and never risen again." This could be trying to show us is that the signalman's character was successful in his education; however he did not use his academic skills wisely had hence 'Missed his opportunities.' In 'The Red Room', the characters, warnings about the red room "the likes of this house" and "this night of all nights!" tells the reader that there is something unusual about the house and that the red room is more than just a typical room. Also as there are only four characters this makes the book stay within the house and not much room to expand, kept concise. ...read more.

Conclusion

When first reading the short story, we are totally shocked by the fact that this death is in fact the Signalman. The short story 'The Red Room' also had an unexpected ending. We find out towards the end that there was no ghost at all, but something far worse. We also are not told what the person experiences which led him into believing in ghosts. This gives a sense of suspense to the story as that is the point where the story is ended, n makes the reader continue to think of what the narrator could have seen in 'The Red Room' Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ended 'The Club Footed Grocer' in a very positive form. The author ended with a conclusive paragraph which revelled some secrets that we, the readers, where not aware of while reading the short story. This is a very good way to end a story as it does not keep the reader hanging off the edge. To conclude, I think that all three pre-nineteenth century stories were very successful. I also believe that to make a story full of suspense you need to create tension because tension in the present creates suspense in the future. You must not reveal everything to the reader and leave them to figure it out for themselves. It should keep the reader guessing right till the end of the story. I believe that all three stories achieve this remarkably well. 1 Hardik Patel ...read more.

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