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Examine the settings which the writers have chosen for their stories in "The Signalman", "The Man With The Twisted Lip" and "The Red Room"- Consider the effects that each writer has created and how they contribute to the atmosphere.

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Introduction

GCSE English Coursework - Comparing three Victorian mystery stories. EXAMINE THE SETTINGS WHICH THE WRITERS HAVE CHOSEN FOR THEIR STORIES IN "THE SIGNALMAN", "THE MAN WITH THE TWISTED LIP" AND "THE RED ROOM." CONSIDER THE EFFECTS THAT EACH WRITER HAS CREATED AND HOW THEY CONTRIBUTE TO THE ATMOSPHERE. In this piece of coursework, I will attempt to analyze, evaluate and compare three pieces of mysterious Victorian writings. The three stories and authors are, "The Signalman" written by Charles Dickens; "The Man with the Twisted Lip" written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; "The Red Room" written by H.G. Wells. The First story in analysis, The Signalman, is narrated mainly by the actual signalman himself, and there is a very mysterious sense around the scene that is set. The main setting is in a train yard, where a man, who claims to have foreseen many accidents through ghosts, lives. His sightings of ghosts have been followed by real accidents in which there are fatalities. However the ghost strikes again and this is how readers are kept bounded to the story's mystery. The second story; The Man with the Twisted Lip, is another story with not a lot of suspense. However, it contains a very severe twist in the tale. The mysterious writing succeeds in keeping viewers entertained. However in the end of the story, the whole tale is resolved. The story is about a man who disappears, and is found later on disguised, in a prison. All the time he is under reader's nose so the irony strikes them. The red room is a very gothic piece of writing that contains a lot of suspense and melodramatic scenes. It is based around the supernatural and there are many surreal occurrences. The whole piece has many strange happenings, which creates plenty of suspense to keep the reader interested. There are involvements with ghosts, supernatural occurrences such as unnatural presence in the room, and there?is also that factor of the basic isolation of the room from the rest of the house. ...read more.

Middle

The wooden berths show how low-class the building is and how it is unkempt. Nobody seems to care about anything apart from smoking opium all night. There is a lot of "gloom" present and Watson talks about it often. He mentions that Through the gloom you can "just make out bodies lying in strange fantastic poses" The whole room is so full of opium smoke that it can cause drowsiness too, so there is a great image of danger. As the room is "thick and heavy with smoke", danger lurks about and it can get to ones brain. There is so much, that it creates a Gloom. Also there are little "red circles of smoke" seen "out of the black shadows" The red circles again impose danger and a, more realistically, a lot of smoking going on even at night. There are black shadows too, meaning light is being lightly reflected, so you can catch a glimpse. The whole situation is very unearthly, with many strange beings. There is a lot of "mumbling" which suggests madness about the creatures lurking there. There is "burning charcoal" there too, suggesting a lot of heat being generated. Even though the smoke can cause a lot of heat there is even more! It is also a sign of danger. These people here are out of their minds and they are being trusted with charcoal! The bodies present are like those on an emigrant ship, as described before. It is scary and threatening. The voices are sinister. They create a sense of losing bearings. It is a nightmarish image, where no-one wants to be. There is a description of a Sallow Malay Attendant" which creates a sinister and alien aura. Maybe he smokes opium too. He seems to be from another world, as a courier. Watson also describes the drug as "vile, stupefying fumes" so the whole air of the place can cause drowsiness and they are evil in a way. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 'The Man with the Twisted Lip', there is a spot where smoke is used, so it is very gloomy and very difficult to see, bodies can be made out, and sounds like those of unearthly hellish nightmares are made of people talking. There is a small oil lamp there too, which seems to be flickering, indicating a danger of evil things to happen. There is a precipitate path leading down into the abyss and a black gap. These are very similar and help create the aura of a very unearthly grounding. However, in 'The Red Room', there is a castle where it is set, sounds of ancient people and their objects. The inhabitants of the house create the suspicion of dead people. There is a monstrous shadow that is mentioned to create supernatural feelings. The candles keep going out and there is therefore a lack of light. Finally, the setting of the stories all differ in their own ways. 'The Signalman' is very isolated beneath all of those stairs, with absence of light and a hellish image. It is thought of as unknown territory, where no-one seems to go. 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' is in a very dangerous environment, in an isolated and deadly dark alley in between two shops creating aura of low-society. It is in a forbidden club or society that is secret where people go to smoke in a hellish environment. 'The Red Room' is set in a medieval castle with a room which is labyrinthine from the rest of the house not to mention isolated. It is dark and supernaturally sinister. So in a way all three stories are very similar, but have their differences. The main story with differences to the other two is Red Room, which is gothic can supernatural. However, the other two stories reflect Victorian society and the fears that were present then; there seems to be a similarity where both locations are set at night too. They are both written to design fears in what can happen in original Victorian society in that day. By Sarvinder Saini 10.05 ...read more.

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