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

Consider atmosphere and setting in the 19th century stories you have read, and discuss how the authors have created fear and suspense

Extracts from this document...


Consider atmosphere and setting in the 19th century stories you have read, and discuss how the authors have created fear and suspense In this essay I will discuss the ways in which suspense and fear are created in the nineteenth century stories, The Body Snatcher by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Signalman by Charles Dickens and how the setting and the atmosphere contribute in making these stories successful in the gothic literature. These two stories have very different ways in how they create tension and suspense and will be looked at in detail throughout this essay. I will also be looking at how the Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs demonstrates elements of the gothic and discuss how fear and tension are created. The stories are from the nineteenth century and in this Victorian era, there was a fascination with death and the macabre, 'good' deaths happened in the belief that people had made peace with God and had resigned themselves to their fate. Victorians created a huge business based on funerals, a grand funeral showed their wealth and respectability and people sometimes even made jewellery with the hair of dead loved ones. Doctors made huge advances in medical science; bodies of hanged criminals were used to learn from, however there was a limited supply. ...read more.


Also the reader does not know what sort of person the narrator really is. When the narrator is a character in the story, it makes it easier to know how the person is feeling; this makes the reader more aware of the character and so can begin to relate to them. The Signalman is more mysterious and gripping than the Body Snatcher as no information is given to the reader about the characters. Something strange happens at the beginning of The Signalman unlike in The Body Snatcher and the reader wants to know why, 'remarkable manner'. The signal man dives straight into the story without really building up the tension beforehand with the scene, unlike the body snatcher where the scene is set and the tension is gradually built up with the frightening atmosphere. The Body Snatcher is written in language of the early nineteenth century, it is often verbose with the use of words that are not used today such as crapulous, ensigns and indemnified. The language is poetic throughout the story with the use of metaphors, similes, euphemism and oxymorons, this helps to add mystery and suspense to the story as well as make it sound old fashioned and traditional. However, the story is very literal and the title is a good example of this. It is very atmospheric and detailed giving the reader a clear view of the situation and scene. ...read more.


The signalman when hearing the bells ring creates tension due to the narrator not hearing them, the reader believes that the signalman is imagining noises and this creates an unsettling and tense atmosphere. His character is very rational, it makes him more real but he goes pale at one point, "in a word I should...with a fallen colour." He may have done this, the reader assumes, due to a presence such as a ghost tormenting him, but it is not known and so the strangeness of his personality is shown further which again builds tension and makes the reader wonder. The end of The Signalman is very dramatic, the story ends with a twist but throughout there is a lot of foreshadowing leading up to an expected ending. The structure and the way Charles Dickens sets the order of events create suspense. When the signalman tells the narrator about the first two accidents, the reader is expecting a third one to happen in the near future as with all stories and this creates suspense. The Body Snatcher and The Signalman both, in my opinion, are good horror stories and although they build suspense and fear in various different ways, they still both make the reader anxious and tense. In my opinion, that is the key to a horror story. ...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?'

    To his amazement 'I saw the appearance of a man, with his left sleeve across his face,' this creates the tension to rebuild itself. He panicked ' I descended the notched path with all the speed I could make;' It is a shock to the reader that the signalman was killed but not so much to the narrator.

  2. A good ghost story must contain suspense and tension - discuss

    The Canterville ghost is described in great detail, as we know what he wears, what he plans to do in the future and what his actions are. He is like a theatrical character as he is play-acting. There are more humans involved whereas in the signalman only one human is

  1. Compare and contrast three nineteenth century short stories commentating upon the author's use of ...

    Napoleon lies back down when he is disturb by a "rustling noise" which moves around his bedroom. The spectre appears and takes him along "long, vaulted passage" to the streets of Paris. They enter a house and are greeted by a group of beautiful young women except for their masks which represented death heads.

  2. Compare and contrast three 19th Century gothic short stories commenting upon the authors' use ...

    Due to the shortness of this story there is not a lot of description in the story. The story follows the gothic convention of a gloomy setting and atmosphere, "from the county jail." Jails are usually thought of as disgusting places, full of gloom horror and bad actions.

  1. Examine the ways in which Charles Dickens builds suspense in 'The Signalman'

    incidents, but each time the signalman goes to speak and is described by the visitor as, 'touching my arm', 'giving a ghastly nod' and telling the man that 'he had not finished' his tale. Because of this, the reader is kept on tenterhooks as to how this alternative reason could be wrong and what happened next.

  2. How is fear created in the reader in 'The Signalman'?

    Moreover the narrator feels he has left the natural world and travelled into a supernatural world, which makes us think that something may happen to the narrator at any time. The start of the story is also very vicarious: "There came a vague vibration in the earth and air, quickly

  1. "The short story is the ideal form for writers who want to create a ...

    who he translates as in saying, "For God's sake, clear the way!" yet the driver couldn't be distinguished from the ghost in both his actions and words. The final thing I think we learn about the character of the signalman is that he was clearly troubled.

  2. Short Stories Essay

    This is strange because no names are said. The man who is keen to enter the red room is part of the group of men.

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