• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the stories 'The Red Room' and 'The signalman'. Consider how effective they are as ghost stories paying attention to character, setting and atmosphere and the creation of tension.

Extracts from this document...


Compare the stories 'The Red Room' and 'The signalman'. Consider how effective they are as ghost stories paying attention to character, setting and atmosphere and the creation of tension. In this essay I am going to compare and contrast two victorian short ghost stories, 'The Red Room' by H.G Wells and 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens. In the nineteenth century short story writing became popular. In particular the ghost genre was and still is a very popular and successful one. A typical short story would have limited settings, characters and the storyline would have to develop quickly. A typical ghost story would also need to include conventions like isolated setting, darkness, a non believer ( someone who does not believe in ghosts or whatever supernatural being) and tension which may be high or built up. 'The Red Room' begins with the narrator assuring the wierd old people who are refered to as 'the man with the withered arm', 'the old woman' and 'the second old man' and live in Lorraine Castle that it would take 'a very tangible ghost' to frighten him. Straight away he gives me the impression that he is the 'typical man' of his time as he makes this proclaimation which I have mentioned before. He also fulfils the convention of a non believer in a way. ...read more.


Also that someone had tried to signal him off the track by waving and shouting 'Halloa! Below there!'. This is, you may remember, ow the signalman had identified the ghost. These two stories are both written around the same times. The points of tension are at different points in the stories. 'The Red Room' has a big build up of tension in the middle whereas in my opinion 'The Signalman' has a quite balanced, but high, level of tension almost from begining to end. In 'The Red Room' the narrator is a nameless person who is your conventional non believer and is open about this. The fact that we do not know his name adds a sense of mystery to the story. As we read his thoughts we find that he is in fact nervous about visiting the red room. '... a sudden twinge of apprehension' This is one example of the narrator admiting his worried state of mind. He does not however admit this to the other characters until almost the end of the story where he tells the old people of Fear in the red room. '...there is no ghost in there at all; but worse, far worse-... Fear.' This is where he admits his fear and nervousness. The narrator describes the old people, who are also nameless, as unfriendly and speaks of them as though they are creepy. ...read more.


There is also a dark tunnel and red light. 'The Signalman' contrasts with 'The Red Room' in that there is an actual ghost in 'The Signalman' whereas in 'The Red Room' all that there is said to be is Fear. 'The Red Room' begins at a point of quite low tension. The tension then rises slowly rises as he meets the other characters and they warn him against going to the red room saying 'It is your own choosing' which is repeated. This gives the effect of more tension and makes the reader think that there is something to be nervous about. Then later on they say 'But if you go to the red room tonight- (this night of all nights)' This again build up the tension and makes it even more. All the time the characters do not say why they are warning him away from it. On the way to the red room Wells builds up the tension even more by the way he describes the passage. '... and my candle flared and made the shadows cower and quiver.' These are good ways to build up tension and setting the scene of one of the ghost genre because they are conventions of this particular genre. The next rise in tension is created by the candles going out in the red room. This part of the story creates the biggest rise in tension and takes the point of tension to a climax. This part is an example of unexplained happenings. ...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. Discuss the effectiveness of the ghost stories by Dickens, Hughes and Rhys. Show some ...

    The mystification adds to the supernatural and the suspense and also gets the reader thinking about the story that then adds another dimension to the story. There is then a passage where the narrator and the signalman get acquainted. In this passage the suspense dies down a little.

  2. Looking Closely At The Nineteenth Century Short Stories: The Adventure Of The Speckled Band, ...

    Also when they do meet he makes no attempt to start the conversation, "Look towards the red light." He seems very mysterious and unpredictable. As they begin to talk again the man becomes hostile and the narrator hints that he might be a ghost "This was a spirit".

  1. In what ways is "The Signalman" a typical ghost story?

    This is similar to "Macbeth" and "The tell tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe which both have an unexpected turn of events and especially in Macbeth's case leaves things unresolved urging the reader to ponder on the enigmatic ending and leaves things unexplained, who was the spirit?

  2. Examine the setting and atmosphere in three Gothic Stories: The Red Room by H.G. ...

    Firstly we have the young man who is sceptical against the old and wise. It can be noted that although they may be wise, they have never actually dared to go to the red room. The description of people in The Red Room contributes to creating an apprehensive atmosphere, as

  1. Comparative Essay between "The Signalman" and "The Pit and the Pendulum"

    He starts the horror immediately, without a build up of suspense, which is supported by the man running in and out of consciousness right from the beginning of the story. The hallucinations are a good indication of how terrified the victim was, and so, this influences the reader to almost

  2. Short Stories Essay

    She talks about what happened to her and her sister, this is an embedded narrator. It is told by the omniscient someone who knows everything that happened. The story is told trough the use of multi-perspectives. It starts off with Watson telling it with his opinions, and then is moved onto Helen expressing her opinions.

  1. I will be examining the settings that the writers have chosen for their stories ...

    One of the similarities between 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room' is that they both have chosen to set the stories in an isolated place. The red room is isolated because the direction to get there are difficult which would mean that it would be hard to get back out,

  2. 'Examine the settings which the writers have chosen for their stories in ''The Signalman'', ...

    There is also a very Victorian idea about rigid class division, it being very noticeable to the narrator that this signalman is too educated to be in such a low ranking of social class and occupation without some kind of explanation.

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