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Compare and contrast the ways in which the writer presents the supernatural in the short stories: The Signal Man and the Red Room!

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Sarah Rayner 10SH Thursday 28th Nov 2002 Compare and contrast the ways in which the writer presents the supernatural in the short stories: The Signal Man and the Red Room! There are many different ways in which the supernatural are interpreted in the two short stories. In the openings of the stories, the first similarity was that they both open with direct speech. This shows apprehension which makes the reader read on. Most stories have an introduction so these seem very different already. As soon as you read on you see that both of the stories will be focusing on the theme of the supernatural. This is shown by the word 'Tangible ghost' (The Red Room) and is also shown by the actions of the signal man looking the opposite way to which the original noises were first heard. This creates a sense of something abnormal. In the Red Room, the attitude of the old people set the tension and suspense due to them insisting that there is some sort of supernatural being, living and haunting under their roof. The guest calms the tension when, by the way he phrases his words, he tells them that he is not scared and will never be scared of any non-living creature. The tension is brought up to a higher level when the old people mention that they will accept no blame if anything happens to him whilst he is alone upstairs; however, in The Signal Man, the tension and suspense is created with an entirely different approach. ...read more.


The way that he didn't answer at first made us wonder what he was focusing on or whether he just didn't want to answer. In a way this builds suspense by the actions of the man. Referring to the red room again, when the guest leaves the old people, one of the old people continues to use repetitive phrases but this time it is a different phrase. "It's your own choosing!" The description of the hall way he is about to walk down creates tension because the way that it is described, you wouldn't really want to walk down there on your own especially after sitting through a lecture, well not when the old people told you things like that. Whilst walking up to his room his room he ponders over how odd the three pensioners are. So far through both of these stories, they show that they are very similar in the way that they both open with direct speech and how similar they are with raising the tension and suspense. They are both good as far as the first pages go, however you will have to read on to see how much more the tension can build up to. The signal man tries to accuse the other man of being seen earlier down the track. The man said he looked familiar and that was his excuse for not answering the first question the man asked him. The signal man describes himself as having worked so much that he has formed into the way he lives. ...read more.


It makes the narrator quite angry because he would like to help him but there is no way he can do this. When they see another figure (the one that is sent to symbolise the end of the Signal man's life), this creates the most tension in the story, but even more so because it involved the main character and the readers will want to know if he survives. The narrator knows there is something wrong and so does the signal man in his own way, when they see the light... "With an irresistible sense that something was wrong..." The narrator cannot believe it when he finds out that the man is dead. Being annoyed with himself, he takes a walk to the first place he ever saw the signal man. He recalls the other times he had spoken to him and the times the man had told him about the figures. He thought he was stupid for not believing him but he didn't want to believe it. The tension and suspense is created in the last few scenes when he recalls the phrases the signal man said, he then realises what they meant and wondered if there was anyway in which he was able to prevent this from happening. The signal man was my favourite out of all of the stories. It gave me more of a sense as to what was happening and in my opinion; it had more suspense and tension but also had a much better story line! By Sarah Rayner 10SH ...read more.

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