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Comparing and Contrasting the authors presentations of the supernatural in "The Signalman" and "The Red Room"

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Introduction

Comparing and Contrasting the authors presentations of the supernatural in "The Signalman" and "The Red Room" The focus of my essay will be on HG Wells' 'The Red Room' and Charles Dickens' 'The Signalman'. These are two of a variety of short stories which I have studied .I aim to see which of these short stories are most effective at portraying supernatural to scare the reader. To briefly summarise each story, 'The Signalman' is of a man who is haunted by a warning of the future. 'The Red Room' is of a man who is out to prove that the room that is believed to be haunted is not. The origin of the gothic story was in 1764 in the United Kingdom, when the first supernatural fictional text was finished, 'The Castle of Otranto' by Horace Walpole. Gothic tradition had started properly when Ann Radcliffe released her first book 'The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne'. ...read more.

Middle

Although this is not a literary device the number three features in most ghost stories. As in 'The Red Room' three mishaps take place in and around the room, and in 'The Signalman' three appearances of the ghost bringing three tragic incidents. It creates an uncertainty that something more will happen. Repetition is used a lot in short stories, creating a theme, like in 'The Signalman'. However in 'The Red Room' repetition is used to smaller effect such as to make an air of worry, '("This night of all nights!" said the old woman.)'. This line is repeated a paragraph later. 'The Signalman' is a story of a signalman who is haunted by the warning of unfortunate happenings, in the form of the ghost, to come in the future that he cannot comprehend. He is visited by a by who shouts the words 'Halloa, bellow there'. This is what the ghost shouts to the signalman to warn him. ...read more.

Conclusion

However in 'The Red Room' repetition is used to smaller effect such as to make an air of worry, '("This night of all nights!" said the old woman.)'. This line is repeated a paragraph later. Unlike 'The Signalman' there is a frequent use of adverbs such as 'whose head rocked silently as I passed him, scarcely startled me.' Adverbs are used in this piece to build a vivid image in the imagination. On the other hand, 'The Signalman' displays a lack of description. In conclusion, I find that 'The Signalman' was a more effective supernatural short story than 'The Red Room'. On one hand 'The Signalman' had a distinct lack of description, but on the other hand, 'The Red Room' had a fault in strength of irony. As I said in my description of what makes a good short story, I described irony as what is needed to make a ghost story what it is. I find that as 'The Red Room' does not have a shocking enough ironic twist to scare the reader, therefore I found 'The Signalman' more effective. Rory High 10GD 10R2 The Short Story - English Coursework ...read more.

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