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

Examine the supernatural and rational interpretations that seem to explain events in 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room'.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine the supernatural and rational interpretations that seem to explain events in 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room'. How far have Charles Dickens and H. G. Wells achieved a balance between these different outlooks through the characters and narrative development in their stories, and particularly in their endings? The stories 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The Red Room' by H G Wells are similar in the balance between the supernatural and rational. In 'The Signalman' there is a ghost or vision that gives warnings to an impending accident on the train line. After various warnings the signalman, who sees the visions is killed by a train. The story leads us down a path, which never reveals which explanation the writer wanted the story to be based around. This is similar to 'The Red Room'. It also has a story that mixes the rational and supernatural, without telling the reader which one to believe. The story is of a man, who is trying to prove that a room in a mansion is not actually haunted, by staying in the room over night. During the night various things happens, leading to the man being injured and knocked out. In both stories the mix of rational and supernatural are combined so you are never sure which one to believe. In 'The Signalman' you are told of two visions witnessed by the signalman. ...read more.

Middle

The ghost was not just blowing the candles out but it was 'as if the wicks had been suddenly nipped between a finger and thumb', which suggest that it was not a draught, as it left 'the wick neither glowing nor smoking'. As the candles go out, there were more shadows in the room, causing more fear in the man. As the 'shadows seemed to take another step towards (him)', he begins to become more agitated. This adds to the supernatural feeling of the story. To balance out the supernatural in both stories there are many rational excuses for the happenings in both stories. In 'The Signalman' most of the happenings are explained with a rational excuse, usually by the narrator. After the signalman explained the first story of the vision followed by the accident the narrator dismisses the incident as a 'remarkable coincidence'. The signalman continues to the second story of the death of the woman, preceded by a vision. However, after listening to both stories, the narrator now has 'nothing to say' and cannot dismiss them both as a coincidence. The narrator also tries to tell himself that the signalman may actually just be mentally disturbed and the visions were 'infection in his mind'. He is trying to dismiss them as not actually true. He also tries another excuse. He believes that the visions may be a 'deception of his sense of sight' and based on shadows and light causing strange shapes. ...read more.

Conclusion

He does call them 'curious circumstances' yet also claims that it was 'coincidence' that he said those words. By leaving the narrator in mixed minds about the true reasons for the visions or deaths, the writer also leaves the reader in two minds about what happened. In 'The Red Room' the narrator tries to reject the idea of a supernatural presence in the room. When he is asked if it is a ghost that is present in the room, he replies that 'there is no ghost there at all'. But after he says this he feels the bandages the housekeepers put over his wounds. This leads the reader to think that there was a presence in the room in order to give the man wounds. The narrator tries to dismiss the idea of a ghost as actually just 'Fear' that is only in the minds of the people who enter the room. Was it 'fear' of there actually being a ghost that caused the man to make himself go delirious and blow the candles out himself with the breeze he produced? The narrator himself is believes that it was the fear in his head that caused him to be scared and knock himself out. However, the writer again leaves it up to you to decide which interpretation to believe, as in 'The Signalman'. Both stories leave you a balanced interpretation of what happened and it is up to the reader to decide what one they wish to believe in. Howard Roof 10T English ...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. Comparing The Red Room, H.G.Wells, The Signalman, Charles Dickens, He Ostler, Wilkie Collins.

    Fear that will not have light or sound, that will not bear with reason, that defeats and darkness and overwhelms. It followed me through the corridor; it fought against me in the room. So we find out that the rooms history about the young duke falling down the stairs after

  2. Analysis of The Red Room and The Signalman

    He also uses colour in the description of characters appearance he shows this by 'his eyes were covered by a shade, and his lower up, half averted, hung pale and pink from his decaying yellow teeth.' He shows how old the man is and creates an image of the character very clearly.

  1. Prose English

    These words are not normally used today. The third and final story I am going to analyse for tension is 'Lost Hearts' - by M. R. James. Tension is created in several ways again in this story. In the beginning we see that the passenger on the chaise is a

  2. Which is the more effective of the supernatural stories of "The Signalman" and "The ...

    In the space of about 150 words, Charles Dickens creates a superb setting for his spooky tale, with his extensive use of adjectives. His wide use of adjectives draws the reader into the story more and more until the reader almost experiences the spooky setting for himself and is on the alert for a supernatural event.

  1. Explain what makes a good mystery story, based on your understanding of 'The Red ...

    'The spiral staircase' makes the reader think that it may go on forever. This setting is typical of a 19th century story. This also gives H. G. Wells the opportunity to develop the journey to 'The Red Room' and he can go on describing other happening along the way.

  2. "The Signalman", "The Red Room" and "The Man with the Twisted Lip"

    one knew what to expect in that it is always scary experiencing new things. Back in this time, the railway was a new innovation and was 'cutting-edge technology'. Therefore this was a very modern flavour for Dickens to choose as a setting.

  1. The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs, "The Clubfooted Grocer" by Sir Arthur Canon ...

    about the "Monkey's Paw", it adds to the tension which is being built up because the reader knows that the truth is completely the opposite. There is also a lot of mention of the number "three" and this is symbolic because there is a famous saying that: "three's a charm" and "three is a magic number."

  2. Make an analysis of the two stories and compare and contrast how the supernatural ...

    at the beginning has gone, again, this tells us that he had really experienced authentic fear. The story begins in the 'old people's room' (housekeeper's room) and the main plot is brought up straightaway, which immediately engages the interest of the reader.

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