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Comparison of 'The Red Room' and 'The Signalman'.

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Coursework The two stories we were asked to compare had one common themes which were the building of fear and suspense throughout. One clear difference between the stories was the function of fear in the stories. In the 'The Red Room' the author does not only use fear as a means of evolving the story but also places it at the centre of the story. 'The Signalman' uses fear of the supernatural as a means of making the story more believable as done in 'The Red Room'. Although both stories are equally frightening, I feel that 'The Red Room' contains much more suspense than 'The Signalman', I think that the excess of suspense in 'The Red Room' is due to it having more characters and actions. Both stories are written as first person narrative, however, in 'The Red Room' the horrific events happen to the narrator himself, while in the 'The Signalman' the events are witnessed by the narrator while they actually happen to the Signalman. Both narrators seem to be well-educated, scientific men, which is typical of victorian times. ...read more.


They seem to add to the atmosphere of fear and the supernatural, they also seem to symbolise the castle itself; they are both mysterious and rather threatening. In 'The Signalman' there are only two characters who both play major roles in the unravelling of the story. The Signalman himself is physically described to fit in with his grim surroundings, he seems to be part of the gloominess of the railway cutting, All what is revealed other than his appearance is his job. No names are revealed in either of the stories, I think that this creates a distance between the readers and the characters as there is no need for the readers to be familiar with them because these are both short stories. Instead, the writers in both stories concentrate on the events and their description rather than the characters. As both stories were written such a long time a go, their language is very much part of their era. Readers in the present will find the language quite unfamiliar in places, such as in 'The Red Room', "said I" would in modern english idiom be "I said". ...read more.


This builds up an expectation that something awful will happen in the Red Room. In 'The Signalman' the story takes place over three nights. The dark setting, deep in a railway cutting which 'admits little light' and where the ground 'vibrates and pulsates' whenever a train comes by, sets up a suitable atmosphere for the supernatural visitations which haunt the Signalman. This setting emphasises the solitude and uneasiness, making it ideal for the mysterious and dreadful events that follow. This helps prepare the reader for the catastrophe with which the story ends. A final similarity is how neither story ends with a proper scientific explanation, therefore neither of the narrators can use science as 'the answer' because what has happened through out the two stories has no scientific explanation. In my opinion, this leaves the readers with an uneasy feeling about the supernatural and the chaos it may cause. A fear of the supernatural lives deep inside some people, and not so deep in others. But stories such as these can cause even the most rational of people to wonder if there are things in the world which can not and should not be explained. ...read more.

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