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Explore how effectively the writers create a sense of mystery using a selection of 19th century stories.

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Introduction

Explore how effectively the writers create a sense of mystery using a selection of 19th century stories. Mystery stories have been increasingly popular since the 19th century because they manage to intrigue readers and make them want to read more. This has happened because of what have become classic mystery and horror story ingredients that drag readers into a story and make them want to keep turning the pages. An often tense, surreal yet believable, waiting atmosphere is created by the writer. This was something new in the Victorian era, probably a reason that the genre of mystery writing drew so many readers. Back then, there were no televisions or radio, and no real form of entertainment that we think of today. You had your friends, games, or reading books in a family. This became increasingly popular as more and more children began going to school and learning to read. Along with this, new laws were brought in to limit time in the workplace, so there was more time to read. Old superstitions of ghosts and strange happenings were suddenly being revived, and new science was being discovered, giving the fathers of science fiction more to write about. After reading The Red Room, written by H.G. Wells in 1896, The Signalman, written by Charles Dickens in 1866, and Bram Stoker's The Judge's House from 1891 I am going to look at the atmosphere created by the stories, and how that creates a real sense of mystery that draws a reader in and captivates him or her. ...read more.

Middle

The other way round being a much more hopeful idea that the new way will be beaten off and destroyed because people will reject it. Maybe, it isn't that at all, but a comment on the changing beliefs of people in the country. Or in fact, just a general overview; that if people try to tamper with what is there, then that will not work. The other characters in all three stories also follow a pattern. In The Red Room there are three other characters, all of whom are quite old, senile and slightly insane. The Signalman has the signalman as its other character, who believes he is going insane with his job. And The Judge's House follows two old ladies both of which seem slightly unable to grasp the full concept of reality, and are led to believe local superstitions, as well as a rat, which is just generally quite different and disturbing in its nature. It seems as if all three writers are purposely trying to create a sense of balance, or even of conflict. On one side you have the rational, level-headed character, and the other the super-natural, unexplainable character. The balance part of this is to do with a ying-yang philosophy in that there is a good side and an evil side, this can be adapted to an explainable and unexplainable side. But then in that same philosophy, there is the situation of conflict between the two sides. As there is here, and, in each case, the unexplainable side comes out with an almost win. ...read more.

Conclusion

Or maybe, that he was hallucinating, and seeing things, and in his haste to stop yet another accident, managed to kill himself. All three stories end with something happening because of a spiritual cause, and the possibility of madness. Questions are always left at the end; maybe that is what frightens the readers so much, that they don't have answers. I feel that Charles Dickens, with The Signalman has created the best mystery story because the suspense and mystery is kept at a high right until the end of the story. He does this, just slightly better than the other writers, perhaps through the marginal ideas of the stories; that they are all totally believable, and that could quite easily happen (or could, with the scientific knowledge of that time), but aren't quite real; there is just something a little not right about the settings, characters, lighting and events. Another positive aspect of the story is that it is a most unpredictable story. The reader really has no idea what is going to happen. Dickens seems to be able enlighten and fill the reader's imagination with long descriptive sentences, and the atmosphere in the reader's head, determines what they think is going to happen next, and how scared they are. Some of the meanings in this story can be traced back to Victorian issues of the time, like the worry about the new industrialisation and worries about poverty. But maybe, there are no issues and Dickens, and the other writers, and simply writing for the enjoyment of writing. Max Manning 1010 English Prose Study Coursework Miss Broadfoot Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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