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

Discuss the ways in which 'The Red Room', 'The Signalman' and 'The Inexperienced Ghost' create and sustain atmosphere and tension

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the ways in which 'The Red Room', 'The Signalman' and 'The Inexperienced Ghost' create and sustain atmosphere and tension It is clear that atmosphere and tension are of fundamental importance to the success and effectiveness of a ghostly tale. As Susan Hill, a prolific writer of ghostly tales, says 'one thing a ghost story must have is atmosphere'. Also it is clear that 'The Red Room', 'The Signallman' and 'The Inexperienced Ghost' create tension and atmosphere at varying degrees. The role of the narrator is of fundamental importance when creating atmosphere and tension in the ghostly genre. In 'The Red Room', the narrator goes to a castle to investigate a haunting. The reader throughout the story is restricted from knowing of the history of the narrator and reasons questions such as 'Why is he there?'. For example, in 'The Red Room', the narrator says, '"It is what I came for"', he does not ellaborate on this at all. Similiarly the narrator of 'The Signalman' is vague about why he is there, he seems to just want a chat with this lonely man. In both stories both narrators are extremely curious, this curiosity can help to explain the strange reasons of them being there, although it would not seem to be a satisfactory reason. The vagueness and curiosity of these narrators adds uncertainty to the readers mind and so aiding the atmosphere, though not necesarilly creating it. ...read more.


It is extremely evident in 'The Red Room' and 'The Signalman' and it is this that really makes them 'scary'. In 'The Red Room' there is classic ghost story description, flickering candles, oppressed shadows, strange house, moonlit corridors and subterranean passages. These all amount to the building of tension and of atmosphere in the house as they put you on edge because you know something weird and supernatural will happen. In comparison, 'The Signalman' includes a lot of this gloomy description and also includes the isolated setting of 'The Red Room', 'his post was in as solitary and dismal place as ever I saw'. An interesting similiarity is the subterranean setting of 'The Signalman', 'the cutting was extremely deep', and the sub-terranean passages of 'The Red Room', 'the long, draughty subterranean passage was chilly and dusty'. By using words like gloomy and chilly the atmosphere becomes foreboding and the tension builds and builds as the reader does not know what will happen yet. In 'The Red Room' shadows are personified, this makes them even scarier, when they could just be described as ordinary shadows but instead re made to appear human and sppoky, 'made the shadows cower and quiver', 'a shadow came sweeping up after me, and one fled before me into the darkness overhead'. It is clear that setting is of importance to atmosphere and tension because it is the base that these feelings are built on. ...read more.


In 'The Signalman' you hear most of the facts of the story through dialogue, from the signalman. Some of the signalmans' first words were, '"I was doubtful," he returned, "whether I had seen you before"' this immediately changes the mood, what a strange thing to say to anyone. It increases the atmosphere by making the reader uncomfortable. Similarly in 'The Red Room' the conversation at the beginning clearly made the narrator uncomfortable and so the reader feels uncomfortable and nervous also. When the narrator was in the red room his frantic speaking increased the dialogue by showing how scared he was, '"What's up?" I cried, with a queer high note getting into my voice'. Dialogue can seriously add atmosphere, it is the only input a secondary character gets other than their description and so is likely to show a lot about them. In conclusion it is clear that between 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room' tension and atmosphere are created similarly, though this is not the case of 'The Inexperienced Ghost' even though it does create atmosphere and tension. I conclude that the best creator of atmosphere and tension is the setting, as it is this detail that bulks a story out and is the background to all the added on intricasies of dialogue, the narrator and the primary and secondary characters. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ben Hickman ...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 H.G. Wells 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 H.G. Wells essays

  1. What are the important characteristics of an effective ghost story?

    The settings of the stories are all linked in some ways but are very different in other ways. In 'The Axe' and 'Farthing House' the buildings were once used as something else in the past and are sinister mainly because of that fact- or it is a big reason for it.

  2. The Red Room and The Monkey's Paw(Compare and Contrast)

    This makes the reader imagine what it looks like. It makes them wonder what it'll feel to hold it. "The Red Room" objects that are important when seen is the Chinaman on a bhul table. This is important because it shows and makes the reader imagine what it would look

  1. Compare 'The Red Room' by H G Wells with 'Farthing House' by Susan Hill ...

    as if... like...' were not used. The personification and imagery would have been more effective, thus raising more tension. I also think, the fact that the narrator starts using words that show he is expressing his opinions instead of presenting them as facts, shows he is not as confident as he was; he is now 'frightened'.

  2. How do the writers of 'The Red Room' and 'The Whole Town's Sleeping' create ...

    This period was also a time when gender roles were set, and women were believed to be domestic people, and men were meant to work. This triggered a revolution, in which woman arose and fought for equality and freedom. Women were beginning to be more male-like and became more courageous.

  1. Which is scarier, The Invisible Man Or The Landlady?

    The image of an eye is uncomfortable, and vaguely menacing. From then on Dahl continuously drops hints as to the strangeness of the situation and the landlady's true intentions. For example, her description of one of her previous tenants is rather surprising: "There wasn't a blemish on his body."

  2. What techniques do writers of the ghost genre use in order to create fear?

    This causes fear, as there is nowhere to run. In "The Woman in Black" Eel Marsh House is situated a long way from anywhere and the causeway cuts off an escape at high tide. "You can only cross the Causeway at low tide.

  1. 'The Red Room'

    The three old pensioners try to frighten the character but he still remains cynical. He says `If I see anything tonight, I shall be much wiser.' This sounds as if he is prepared for anything and he disbelieves the old woman and the man with the withered arm.

  2. A sucessful ghost story needs atmosphere, tension and a scary plot, discuss with reference ...

    At the beginning of the story the old people help add to the atmosphere by saying the things that had apparently happened there in the Red Room in the past. These things include; 'This night of all nights,' this makes it sound like it could be a type of anniversary

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