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Compare the ways Dickens and Wells create suspense and tension in their stories, 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room'. Use your knowledge of other mystery stories of the era to demonstrate effective techniques.

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Introduction

Compare the ways Dickens and Wells create suspense and tension in their stories, 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room'. Use your knowledge of other mystery stories of the era to demonstrate effective techniques. Charles Dickens and H.G Wells have written a pre twentieth century story. Both stories needed suspense and tension to make the story successful and to have the effect that the author wanted. 'The Signalman' by Dickens is a ghost story and could be a mystery; 'The Red Room' by Wells is also a ghost story and can also be a mystery story. I will compare both of these stories and decide which has the best impact on the reader, with the tension and suspense building up, for the reader in the pre twentieth century and the reader today. Also I will be referring to other pre twentieth century stories, on how they have built up tension and suspense. 'The Red Room' by H.G Wells is about a young man who says he is not scared of any thing and will go up to the red room. It is said that the red room of Lorraine castle is where the young duke had died and now it is haunted. All the old people that live in Lorraine castle warn him not to go up there but say "it is your own choosing." The young man says he will go up to the red room to find out if it is haunted, but he actually doesn't believe in ghosts. ...read more.

Middle

In another pre twentieth century story that I have read, 'The Tell Tale Heart', the author does not describe the old man, which makes it very mysterious and has the same effect as Charles Dickens done in 'The Signalman'. When the signalman is around other people, in the beginning, he acts very suspicious, where as in 'The Red Room' the young man acts himself around other people. The old people In 'The Red Room' all seem to behave like their normal selves, but one of them, the man with the shade, doesn't say anything and acts as if the young man is not there. This may be because he doesn't approve of what the young man is doing. Other old people in 'The Red Room' tell him it is his own choosing to go up to the room, but really they want him to go up to find out what is in the room, because they are too old and scared to go up themselves. In 'The Signalman' the narrator acts very cautious around the signalman in the beginning because, to start with he thinks that he is a ghost and not real, and also he feels that he is frightening the signalman, so the narrator tries not to make the signalman be afraid of him. It is not until later on in the story you find out why the signalman was acting suspicious around the narrator, so this adds tension because you wonder why he looked down the line. ...read more.

Conclusion

Where as in 'The Red Room' by H.G Wells it doesn't have such a big impact on you because I thought 'fear' could have been improved. Overall I would say that Dickens builds up tension and suspense the most effectively. I say this because through out the story he builds up tension right to the end, from the first sentence 'Halloa! Bellow there!' and the action he made, to the end when the narrator finds out how the signalman died. I thought the technique of repeating the sentence 'bellow there' was very effective because you wonder is it the narrator that made it up or the ghost. In my opinion I think that both of them do well in building suspense and tension, but from all the evidence I have gathered 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens appears to have the best effect on the reader and builds up tension and suspense the most effectively. The book in the pre twentieth century era would have the best impact on the reader because of the thought of modern technology, and today it has the best impact on the reader because of the deaths and the ending, which is a bit like a cliffhanger. By Sarah Coe Sarah Coe - Compare the ways Dickens and Wells create suspense and tension in their stories, 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room'. Use your knowledge of other mystery stories of the era to demonstrate effective techniques. ...read more.

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