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Analyse the methods by which Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells create atmosphere and tension in 'The Signalman' an 'The Red Room' which of the two stories do you consider to be the most effective as a ghost story?

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Analyse the methods by which Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells create atmosphere and tension in 'The Signalman' an 'The Red Room' which of the two stories do you consider to be the most effective as a ghost story? In 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room' both authors use the atmosphere to create the setting of the story. They do this by their lexis in descriptions, Charles Dickens sets the atmosphere intensively at the beginning where as H.G. Wells uses the atmosphere to create the climax of the story. 'The Signalman' is set in the nineteenth century, a time when supernatural powers were still believed so someone reading this at the time would feel more affected by the atmosphere. The opening scene is set within a deep cutting at twilight; he describes the stone in the cutting as 'clammy'. This is an uncommon, unpleasant word which helps the reader picture the gloomy scene. The cutting would be very dark; this darkness creates the suspended mood. It is also described as being, "extremely deep and unusually precipitous" and "solitary and dismal". It seems the place is very isolated and cut off from the real world, the perfect place for supernatural happenings "Great dungeon". ...read more.


The narrator in The Signalman is a very mysterious character as we know very little about him; no physical description can create the question does the narrator actually exist. There are unclear, unanswered questions of what is he doing there, is he driving the signalman to his death extremely subtly? There is some evidence in his tone of voice that he has come from a prison or an asylum. He has a large interest in the signal man and his work as he asks what he has to do in his job and he seems to want to know about what is in the signal box, though there is no evidence why he is interested in this. In the end it is the narrators fault that the signalman dies because if he hadn't called down to him in the first place, the signalman would have looked up as the train came down the tunnel. "Below there, look out". The first words of the story are the most decisive words of the story. Could it have been fate? And no matter what had happened between the start of the story and his death, it couldn't have been prevented. ...read more.


This is evident when he talks with and about the signalman "You look at me as if you had a dread of me". Neither you nor him knows what the response is going to be.? With both stories being in the first person no tension can be built up using dramatic irony. The long beginning in The Signalman generates a tension as the longer the suspense of the reader waiting to see what will happen. The short end generates an intense climax and there is no time for the reader to relax, as the whole story is concluded and completed very quickly. Similarly the Red Room has long beginning with conversation with the servant then the haunting journey to the red room builds up a large amount of tension. The Climax is longer that The Signalman's climax however while in the red room the climax is reached very slowly as due to the structure of H.G. Well's writing the intensity is increasingly built up. cannot foretell. In the Red Room then haunting emphasis is all in the mind of the narrator, for the dark that keeps cutting out the light is not seen in any form or living appearance however becomes personified and is created into a mystical creature that is stalking the men and getting even closer. ( not quite finish) Greg Burgess English coursework pg1/4 ...read more.

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