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'Compare and contrast the ways in which the writers of the 'The Red Room' and 'The Signalman' capture and sustain their audiences imagination.'

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Introduction

'Compare and contrast the ways in which the writers of the 'The Red Room' and 'The Signalman' capture and sustain their audiences imagination.' The Red Room is a story by HG wells and is about a man who goes to an ancient castle to ghosthunt. This proves to be successful after a near fatal encounter with candles during his vigil. The Signalman by Dickens is about a man who is being haunted by ghostly figures that precede death. This soon leads to his own death. These two stories are both written in the Victorian period, The Red room in 1894 and the signal man in 1866. Because of this, and the nature of these stories, they belong to the gothic genre of writing. This is odd because the Victorian era are known for their huge advancements in technology and science. This doesn't account for their fascination with the supernatural and superstition. These stories were popular because of their suspense and twist in their tales involving ghosts, supernatural beings and the unexplainable. This paper will focus on how the two stories compare against each other and how the two successfully capture the fear and imagination of their readers and keep it. The setting described in 'The Red Room' is dark and ancient; an example of this is the idea of the labyrinthine corridors and passageways the narrator must walk through in order to get to 'the Red Room'. ' You go along the passage for a bit, until you come to a door and through that is a spiral staircase and halfway up...Go through that and down the long corridor to end and the red room is on your left up the steps.' ...read more.

Middle

This is probably again to allow the readers to be drawn in and imagine themselves as the character seeing and feeling what the character is feeling. He is young man, we assume because unlike the other story there is no mention of the narrator's age. And we believe him to be an educated man or a man of high regard because the signalman and the train driver Tom always refer to him or answer him as 'sir'. The signalman was unusually intelligent for his post. Is makes the reader wonder why he had such a lowly job? His appearance is also very striking and which coincided with the idea of him being visited by the unknown. He is described in a lot of detail compared to the other characters in the story. ' He was a dark and sallow man, with a dark beard and heavy eyebrows' this shows that his features are quite dark and have a resemblance to the dark which in this genre of stories is usually associated with the unknown and the supernatural. Other characters in the story are the spectres themselves. They rarely speak but have a huge presence in the story and lead to the main character's death among others. They're a bad omen because they only appear when death is approaching and always seem to cover their faces to show an emotion or a gesture. It is possible that they are the last possible things that the signalman sees. To tell the signalman that they are in they release a strange vibration in the signal bell that alerts the signalman. ' I have never confused the spectre's bell with the man's. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Signalman however has a good climax because it involves a huge twist in the tale. The signalman who sees the premonitions of others deaths and ends up seeing his own. This is a good conclusion and climax because it thrusts your way of thinking in another direction. For instance many probably thought for the first section that the person who would end up dying was going would be the narrator. The short story that captured and held my attention was The Signalman. This is because it had used practically all senses to entice me into the story. This allowed me to become involved and want to carry on reading the story. The climaxes also helped me to find out about the characters and the climax shocked me and I still kept asking questions after I had finished reading. The reason I did not chose The Red Room because it didn't allow me to ask questions after it had finished and it did not hold my imagination for long enough. Sensory stimulation in a ghost story is crucial especially in a gothic ghost story. This is because the information on paper needs to be transferred successfully into your mind to terrify you. This can only be done if the senses are a major part and not an integral but side-tracked aspect of the story. The senses cause us to lose our reason if they are all stimulated at once this makes a good ghost story all the more frightening. This why in my opinion I feel that 'The signalman' captures and sustains its audiences' imagination. In the best possible way, through the senses. Lucinda Batchelor D11 English Coursework 'Compare and contrast the ways in which the writers of the 'The Red room and "The signalman' capture and sustain their audiences imagination. Mrs Lee ...read more.

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