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Explore the genre of mystery in the Signal, the red room, the monkey's paw and napoleon and the spectre

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Explore the genre of Mystery in The Signalman, The Red Room, The Monkey's Paw and Napoleon and the Spectre All of the stories written during the Victorian era make use of the genre of mystery. By analysing each of them, mystery questions philosophical, religious and even social concerns. Furthermore, by contrasting all the narratives whether in first or third person, similarities and differences can be concluded about the setting, role of the author and language used. 'The Red Room' and to an extent 'The Signalman' portray pompous and flippant narrators explaining mysterious situations with reference to fact and psychology. The narrator in the 'Signalman' is a man of rationality who scientifically analyses the railroad employee like a doctor would a patient. He scrutinises the Signalman in a cold analytical way, which shows how he tries to dismiss these inexplicable stories with logical reasons. "Originating in disease of the delicate nerves that minister to the functions of the eye, were known to have often troubled patients, some of whom had become conscious of the nature of their affliction," supports this. The debate between science and the unexplained is reminiscent of the relationship between the narrator and the Signalman. Those who have encountered the supernatural either fear its power or have little belief based on their experience as opposed to formal learning. Although at first the narrator rejects any possible idea of strange events occurring, he soon becomes doubtful, due to how powerful and convincing religion is. ...read more.


The Red Room and The Signalman are written from a first person narrative whereas The Monkey's Paw and Napoleon and the Spectre are written from a third person account. There is a dramatic difference between the two different types of description. By writing in the first person, the narrator is much more directly involved with the story and more emotion is involved e.g. fear of supernatural, whereas by writing in third person, the story becomes a bit more simplistic and less sentimental. However exaggerated language is used throughout all of the novellas. The narrators in 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room' travel from scepticism to fearful belief. Although the narrator in 'The Signalman' did scientifically question the Signalman, the narrator in 'The Red Room' takes part in these eccentric incidents. The Narrator of the Signalman does not engage in these activities and is therefore less directly involved compared to the narrator of The Red Room. In The Signalman, the narrator has been raised not to belief in such ridiculous events and his arguments against the mysterious have more timbre than those in The Red Room as the events have been experienced. Consequently H. G. Wells is untrustworthy and his viewpoint, flawed. Evidence of this is when the narrator is lost for words, which shows how he does not have all the answers. The narrator in 'The Signalman' is not seen to be accurate as these events have occurred but he has more validity. ...read more.


The language used by the company representative who revealed the death of their son is very formal, cold and non-emotional e.g. "The firm wish me to convey their sincere sympathy with you in your great loss." Soon after, there is a change of roles between the two parents. The once flippant mother now wishes to bring her beloved son back to life. Encounters with something beyond the realm of the explicable can lead to injury and mutilation. This primarily takes place in the story of 'The Red Room.' The author soon becomes emotionally vulnerable and there is almost a sense of humiliation from the supernatural. The use of hubris is thus employed; pride before mortification. "I was almost frantic with the horror of the coming darkness, and my self-possession deserted me," shows how the narrator has lost his dignity. "I bruised myself on the thigh against the table," is evidence of how his encounters with darkness have physically bruised him, which is a possible metaphor to his mental injuries. By falling on the floor, it shows how humbled the author is by the experience as he is very dismissive about the elderlys simple faith of the supernatural. The narrator has almost become aged; his character is retrospective of theirs. In conclusion the genre of mystery brings up a diversity of themes in relation to normal every day life. The Monkey's Paw questions people's belief in fate, The Red Room and the Signalman interrogates rationality and Napoleon and the Spectre critisises the appalling aspects of society where one of the Ten Commandments is broken, 'one shall not commit murder.' ...read more.

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