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Explore the ways in which the two authors create feelings of suspense and tension in their stories. Say which you feel is the more successful ghost story and why?

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Introduction

Friday 5th March 2004 Explore the ways in which the two authors create feelings of suspense and tension in their stories. Say which you feel is the more successful ghost story and why? Charles Dickens and H.G.Wells have both written ghost stories in which they are able to create feelings of suspense and tension by using different techniques of writing. Setting the scene, imagery, characterisation and they also have decided to use a developed or undeveloped narrative voice. But beneath the original perception, they are very similar. Charles Dickens wrote 'The Signalman' which is based on a real life drama, even though we are not told so in the story. He relates back to a year before the story was published and so it isn't a coincidence that he wrote a piece about a train crash. 'The Signalman' was published as part of a collection called Mugsby junction in 1866 (when Queen Victoria came to the throne). This story is different from 'The Red Room' written by H.G.Wells as 'The Signalman' is an overall ambiguous story where as the 'The Red Room' is not ambiguous as in this piece you know what is happening and when it is happening and in 'The Signalman' it is not always clear. ...read more.

Middle

So the reader may want to read on to see what happens to the narrator in the house. Together the authors' use imagery to set the scene, as the better a picture of suspense and tension created, there is more chance of producing a more successful ghost story. In 'The Signalman' Dickens has created a mix of setting the scene and imagery to construct claustrophobic tension: "Was it necessary for him when he was on duty always to remain in that channel of damp air, and could he never rise into the sunshine from between those high stone walls?" For me the reader, this image 'sets up' suspense by including a rhetorical question at the end. This is a good use of language as you the reader can come to your own 'right' decision. Again Dickens uses adjectives to give depth to the story. In this quote the narrator seems confused to why the signalman himself chooses to 'remain in the channel of damp air' and he is unable to come to a logical answer so reverses the question 'could he never rise into the sunshine' This builds up readers suspense as the passage drops a hint of suspicion to whether the signalman is a paranormal spirit...and not a living human. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sometimes this can be useful but other times it may become hard for the reader to maintain a link with all of the characters. Wells has characterized the individuals effectively as he has got their moods in realistic form (you can see things like it happening in real life dilemmas). But in 'The Signalman' Dickens hasn't chosen to add a personality to the signalman himself. This is effective as a ghost story because there is a lot of ambiguity about him and because he is an undeveloped character this makes you feel uneasy when you are reading about him as you don't know what to expect from him or what he is going to do next. Overall I think that 'The Red room' is the more successful ghost story simply because of the fact that Wells has described the characters in more depth and generally speaking his story was the more intimidating piece of writing. Although Dickens had based his story on a realistic drama, I think he didn't have as much of the chilling dialogue as had 'The Red room'. Friday 5th March 2004 Explore the ways in which the two authors create feelings of suspense and tension in their stories. Say which you feel is the more successful ghost story and why? By Maxine Skinner. C:\Documents and Settings\maxine\My Documents\Coursework\Languages\English\Coursework Mrs Davage\coursework.doc 07/05/2007 07:08 Maxine Skinner ...read more.

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