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Analysing and Comparing Four Short Stories From the Nineteenth Century

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Analysing and Comparing Four Short Stories From the Nineteenth Century During the Nineteenth Century the horror genre became increasingly popular and dominated the Victorian Era, during which studies into science and psychology improved, thus improving the knowledge of the supernatural and the functions of the human brain. Madness, fear and criminal behaviour were studied as advances into psychology improved, all of which are expressed in the four short stories I will be analysing. In that time period there was a strong separation between sexes of authors and discrimination towards women as men were considered the most superlative at managing mental disturbance, horror and the supernatural. This is in contrast to women as they were expected to write about domestic situations and family life. It could be considered that the recent discoveries led citizens to question their beliefs and traditional views; this encouraged authors to write series of horror stories to entertain and to address their public. In this essay, I will be analysing four short stories, written in the Nineteenth Century by Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, exploring the writer's style, their creation of atmosphere and their development of setting. To begin with, I will analyse the writing style of Poe, Dickens and Wells. Firstly, in the psychotic story "The Tell-Tale Heart" Poe uses an uneasy, paranoid style compared to other Victorian writers. The style is accomplished by short, erratic sentences such as, "There was no pulsation. ...read more.


Poe's creation of atmosphere is very essential for his story. Poe's atmosphere is very much based upon violence and intimidation, which strikes at the reader by the quantity of description he uses. For example, he describes the man's eye that "resembled that of a vulture." This imagery can generate a clear, idealistic re-construction of the man's eye in the audience's mind. Also, violence is portrayed through the ideas and thoughts of the narrator as he describes what he is intending to do, or what he has just completed. "There was nothing to wash out - no stain of any kind - no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all - ha! ha!" Additionally, this conveys a sense of sharpness, excitement and cunningness to the reader. Moreover, within the story line a theatrical twist occurs, which conveys a sense of definite insanity of the narrator, as he perceives a "low, dull, quick sound", which was discovered to be the sound of the dead man's heart beating, which was evidently fictional. "It grew louder - louder - louder! And still the men chatted away pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not?" Secondly, I will explore the techniques used by Dickens to create an atmosphere of a forceful and spiritual environment in "The Signalman". Dickens uses varied techniques to create a fine atmosphere in his story, which is linked to his development of setting. He uses metaphors and personification to enhance imagery, therefore creating a more compelling atmosphere and setting. ...read more.


Whereas with "The Speckled Band", the setting is used with conjunction to the clues and story, which helps with the logical aspect of the detective genre. In conclusion, I can devise that the writer's styles, their creation of atmosphere and development of setting play large roles within each short story they have written. We can see that the three stories differentiate enormously, yet use similar techniques to capture their audience's attention and appeal to their public. The four stories all exploit imagery, though restricted with Doyle's story, to enhance envisioning abilities of the reader, and all use first person narrative to make their story more believable. In addition, the four writers purposely use body images to portray their ideas and thoughts to the reader - to an extent For Wells' and Dickens' stories, the setting is the most important characteristic within them, whereas Poe's story is more based upon psychological issues, therefore concentrates more of creation of atmosphere. Within Dickens' story, he portrays his thoughts of industrial life and how the work methods dehumanise the workers. The signalman in his box proves this. This is also true in other novels written by Dickens. They develop the idea of negative industrial life, and the consequences that lead from it. As time progressed within the Nineteenth Century, more developments and advances into science improved and society became more rational. Ideas of fear and evil appeared and were portrayed strongly towards the public, rather than the original ghost ideas that were first considered. Sarah Holmes 11Gro 15th September 2003 ...read more.

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