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Compare and Contrast two Pre C20th Short Stories which are Good Examples of the Genre of Horror.

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Compare and Contrast two Pre C20th Short Stories which are Good Examples of the Genre of Horror. Explain why this is so. The Oxford dictionary defines horror as, "A strong feeling of alarm, dismay and disgust" horror is also a style of writing. Horror writing started in the early ages as short stories to scare young children into bed. This has now developed into more sophisticated and terrifying tales that are written by thousands of writers worldwide. These stories all have one intention and that is to deliberately scare the reader. For this essay I have been studying two short classic horror stories called 'The Signalman' and 'A Confession found in a Prison at the Time of Charles the Second' both written by Charles Dickens. All horror stories are written to a formula consisting of a few basic ingredients (suspense, creaky floorboards, blood and many others) these two are no different. This is done because it's a working formula and when we watch a horror film we know what to look for as it scares us. We may want to be scared but are only done so I recognizable limits. 'The Signalman' is set in England in the mid 19th Century. The whole story revolves around a small stretch of railway track. This main area can be split up into several different smaller locations. There is a small hut; the entrance to a nearby tunnel; and the bank leading down to the track. ...read more.


The signalman seems a very shy and introverted, he is very loyal to his job and would let nothing get in his way from completing the task at hand. He also has a deep psychological problem and is mentally disturbed (I am troubled sir, I am troubled) by his unstable state of mind soon becomes apparent. The signalman starts off showing little attempt to be friendly to the narrator but as it progresses he opens up and tells him of his problems. This contributes a lot to the story as it all revolves around his mind and the ghostly figure he keeps seeing. The main character in the second story 'A Confession found in a Prison at the Time of Charles the Second' is the narrator who is a victim of paranoia and is troubled by the stare of a young child that he has fostered. He was never a fearless man ("I was never a brave man") he is also unhappy that his brother is so much better than he is at everything: "He was open hearted and generous, handsomer than I, more accomplished, and generally beloved" There is also a hint of jealousy in the way that the child takes up all his wife's time. His mood changes throughout the story as he starts off by being just about able to cope with the child's presence but as the tale progresses he starts to plan a possible attack on the child. ...read more.


Sometimes I'd steal upstairs and watch him as he slept...usually I hovered in the garden so I could see him... there He sat upon a low little seat" He stalked the boy not too dissimilar to they way a bird would hunt its prey. He sees his opportunity when the boy is by the small lake running through his garden. He started "...creeping under certain shrubs" the poor innocent boy ran alongside him; "...running joyously along, with his silken hair streaming in the wind and singing a merry ballad who could hardly lisp the words" he pulled his sword out of its cover and that was that. He buried the body " I took him in my arms and laid him in a thicket... I resolved to descend that night and bury him in the garden". After his act the guilt got the better of him and forced him to make mistakes in his attempted cover-up. He was found out by some bloodhounds that came after the scent. He was found guilty of murder and is due to be executed in the morning. In the course of this essay I have examined the various elements comprising of a typical horror gothic story we have seen for this how important the role of the narrator is to it. These are great examples of short gothic horror stories because they have the correct ingredients required and the tremendous writing. This mix makes them genuinely horrific and immensely scary. Words = 1,844 ...read more.

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