• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9

COMPARE THE SIGNALMAN BY CHARLES DICKENS AND THE RED ROOM BY H.G WELLS EXAMINING HOW THE WRITERS CREATE TENSION AND SUSPENSE IN THEIR STORIES.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

ENGLISH COURSEWORK ESSAY QUESTION: COMPARE THE SIGNALMAN BY CHARLES DICKENS AND THE RED ROOM BY H.G WELLS EXAMINING HOW THE WRITERS CREATE TENSION AND SUSPENSE IN THEIR STORIES. 'To be denied of information as a reader is far more powerful than to know the truth.' In this assignment I will be looking at the two short stories written in the 1800's: "The Red Room" by H.G.Wells where a man goes into an apparently haunted room and although he is warned by other old characters he does not listen and the tension builds up as he goes into the room where fear gets the better of him in a room which might not be haunted in the end. The other short story is "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens. In The signalman a man lives separated from the real world living a lonely life as a signal man at a train station and thinks he might be being visited by a spectre. I will examine the similarities and differences between them in content, style and language and I will say something about the influences of the writers' backgrounds and will be comparing how each story creates suspense and tension within them. Both stories fit in to the Gothic genre with different elements associated with the conventions of a gothic genre. The gothic genre of stories was brought to life in 1764 with Horace Walpole's 'The Castle of Otranto' during the Victorian ages. It included the classic conventions in the setting, atmosphere and story line mainly to create an effect of suspense, tension and mystery used in the gothic genre since then. The Red Room is the more typical Gothic genre and Wells makes it clear how ancient and old fashioned everything is in the castle and includes spiral staircases, secret passages, a suspected ghost haunted room and an eerie atmosphere. Gothic literature attempts to terrify the reader and it nearly always involves the supernatural. ...read more.

Middle

Also by the way he talks you can tell he is a well-spoken and well educated man. In "The Signalman" you learn that the signal man is quite a well learned man, he 'Worked at fractions and decimals'. This asks the question if he was well educated and is a clever man why did he end up working in the railway lines. He is also a very skilled workman 'Safest of men to be employed'. These questions add mystery to his identity which therefore builds up the suspense. When the narrator talks with the signalman, the signalman keeps looking out towards the tunnel. So you don't know what's there or what's going to happen. The signal man is a very lonely man who hardly sees any one from the outside world this could make him slightly crazy and hilusinative; this sustains an edginess tension to him. He tells the narrator in their first meeting that he is 'troubled' this makes the reader think what troubles he has and could it be to do with his weird actions previously, and what will happen next. This also builds suspense. The setting is an integral part of any gothic novel. There are both similarities and differences in the type of settings the writers have chosen for their stories and Dickens has gone for a more contemporary setting where as Wells tried to capture the settings of the typical gothic genre novel. The setting in the red room is typical of a Victorian ghost story. It is set in a dilapidated and derelict castle. The old people who inhabit the place cannot use most of it to live in because they are afraid of the 'red room'. This keeps them well away from that section of the castle creating mystery towards the room. The old people can be looked at as part of the setting; they're weird with a sense of decay and death about them making the narrator feel uncomfortable and edgy with them. ...read more.

Conclusion

He describes it as it happens which adds suspense. You also go through the events with him and emphasize with him as he plays a big role in the story. I think the first person perspective is even more effective in the red room because the narrator plays a larger role story and the main events which create suspense and tension and the fear and panic involved with his actions are expressed to the reader. Both writers share common ground in trying to keep the reader in suspense in their stories but some investigation of historical, social and cultural backgrounds help show why each writer made his particular choice of setting and story line. The Signalman was written before The Red Room in 1860 and at the time the railway was a recent invention just beginning to expand around the country: it was new and inventive technology. This gives Dickens' story a very contemporary touch. References to steam trains and the idea of every small, obscure signal box in the country being permanently manually operated gives a sense of historical context to readers today. There is also a very Victorian idea about how the classes are divided up, it is very noticeable to the narrator that this signalman is too educated to be such a low rank in society without some kind of explanation. It is important to recognise how Dickens chose to combine the old idea of the supernatural with a modern railway setting was unexpected and extraordinary. He was most likely influenced by the fact that in 1865 he had been involved in a railway accident. He was traveling to London by train when it derailed at high speed, killing ten people and injuring many more. He wrote "The Signalman" a year later. The Red Room was written in 1894. Wells made his choices in its contents and setting deliberately adding a timeless quality to it. In contrast to Dickens he did not want his story to be closely linked to the time period it was written in, so that he could 'explore the ageless nature of fear itself'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Signalman section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Signalman essays

  1. How does Charles Dickens create suspense and fear in 'The Signalman?'

    In addition, after the stranger asked the signalman 'is there a path by which I can come down and speak to you?' he does not reply for a while. It seemed as though the signalman was questioning the existence of the stranger; ' he looked up at me without replying'

  2. How is mystery and suspense built up through "The Signalman" and "The Red Room"

    Below There!' " The use of withholding information here is that the reader is not aware of why he should not "call out", and the reader is also forced to wonder of what importance "Hallow below there" holds. The effect of the ambiguity in this instance is that in "The

  1. How do the writers of 'The Red Room' and 'The Signalman' create fear and ...

    This is because the protagonist blames this abnormal occurrence on his own fear rather than what would seem the more the more obvious choice, the supernatural. One more typical element of gothic horror stories is the creation of mystery and suspense. This point is another vital element in horror stories.

  2. How Does Charles Dickens Create Suspense in The Signalman?

    I believe it is the narrator's fault that the signalman dies because if he hadn't called down to him in the first place, The Signalman would not have looked up as the train came down the tunnel. "Below there, look out".

  1. Comparing The Red Room, H.G.Wells, The Signalman, Charles Dickens, He Ostler, Wilkie Collins.

    "He hasn't had a sweetheart since he was 18." "When he was out of service he lived with his widowed mum (Mrs Scatchard)." "Mrs Scatchard was a woman above the average in her lowly station, as to capacities and manners." "She had seen better days; as the phrase is; but she never referred to them in the presence of

  2. The two short stories that I am going to compare are "Bang Bang who's ...

    Which is quite normal for a parent to try to withhold this type of information this adds a little more mystery and twists in the plot as now the adults have started to dispute over it, or does the father believe in the ghost and is just trying to protect his daughter and not frighten her?

  1. The Signalman, The Yellow Wallpaper and Napoleon and The Spectre. In this essay I ...

    In the case of 'Napoleon and the Spectre' the ghost was used as a figure to undermine and control the Emperor of France. In 'Napoleon and the spectre' Napoleon is summoned by 'mysterious influence' to then pass through the 'damp walls of a long, vaulted passage' in almost complete darkness.

  2. Free essay

    How does Dickens create suspense in The Signalman(TM)?

    He has now seen the "spectre" for the third time. This repetition of the sightings amounts to a great deal of tension because the reader is waiting for something to happen, a third death or tragedy. This unnerving tension leaves the reader waiting in fear.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work