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Compare and contrast the two stories "The Signalman" and "The Red Room" explaining which one you enjoyed the most and why.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the two stories "The Signalman" and "The Red Room" explaining which one you enjoyed the most and why. The stories, "The Red Room" written by H.G wells and, "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens were both written in the Victorian era. "The Signalman" is a short story about a man who works in the railway tracks. We find out the man is being visited by a spectre that warns him of great atrocities that are going to happen the trains that pass him. "The Red Room" is the story of a young naive character that believes that he can spend the night in a haunted room. There are some common themes in both the stories. Both seem to use darkness, dark places and shadows to create atmosphere. They also contrast old superstitions with new, progressive or rational ideas. I am now going to judge the two stories on a number of different elements including characters, plot, introduction, conclusion and typical ghost story conventions and give my opinion on which I believe is the better story and why. In "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens, the story starts out with the line "Halloa! ...read more.

Middle

I believe that the narrator makes the signalman feel relaxed because he represents the outside world that the signalman is not apart of because of the isolation of his place of work. We find out that the signalman is very conscientious and precise about his work. It is said, "no man in England knew his job better" and that "one of the safest men to be employed in that capacity." He gets used to the monotony and loneliness of his job and passes the time learning a language and experimenting with algebra. In his youth he had been well educated although he had "run wild, misused his opportunities, gone down, and never risen again. The narrator gives the impression that the signalman is very trustworthy and believable. We also hear that after the signalman starts to become more confident with the narrator and relieves a ghost that predicts train crashes before they actually happen is visiting him. The man is clearly in distress by the visions, which the narrator explains are caused by " the mental torture of a conscientious man, oppressed beyond endurance by the unintelligent responsibility involving life." In "The Red Room" we are presented with a completely different type of character. ...read more.

Conclusion

This could also represent the light at the end of the tunnel for the man with all the visions he is receiving. In my opinion "The Signalman" is the better of the two stories. It has a mysterious character that the reader can identify with and feel sorry for. In "Red Room" the character is much more arrogant and boastful which makes the reader not care as much as to what might happen to him. I think that the true meaning of "The Signalman" is the effect of modern technology and industrialisation on the human soul. The signalman is driven to the point of insanity by the monotony and, at the same time, the awful responsibility involved in his work. He is alienated from his environment: he is an intelligent and imaginative man that is deprived of sunlight, with very little to occupy himself and always knowing that the smallest mistake could lead to a terrible loss of life. The super natural element reflects the era that the story was written in. Many Victorians were very suspicious of the rapid advance in technology in the 19th century. The story is a true mystery has it can have a number of different true meanings and shows that it is about the impossibility of knowing what is real. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Coursework ...read more.

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