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Following a careful study of a range of Victorian Short Stories, discuss the ways setting and atmosphere were utilised, to make the stories successful for their designated audience.

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Introduction

Prose Study Following a careful study of a range of Victorian Short Stories, discuss the ways setting and atmosphere were utilised, to make the stories successful for their designated audience. Victorian stories, especially those with a supernatural theme, cleverly utilised a range of devices to make them a literary success to their respective audiences. The range, which we have studied, covered a time period spanning all of Queen Victoria's reign and consequently created tension in similar and different ways, as I will show in this essay. The setting of Dickens' wonderful creation, "The Signalman" differs a great deal from the other stories. "The Signalman" was published in 1865, forty years prior to "The Man with the Twisted Lip", and "the Red Room". Through the development of this genre in the late Victorian era, we also notice a change in the plot and predictability of the later pieces of writing. For example, when Dickens produced "The Signalman", the latest technological development was the Steam Train. However, in "The Man with the Twisted Lip", Conan Doyle, wished to intrigue his audience by writing about a private investigator, seeing as at the time the Police Force were failing to fulfil their potential as 'Law Enforcers'. In the same way, the genre of "The Red Room", which is of course a gothic mystery, accentuated the horror of haunted rooms, secret passages and stairways. This allowed H. G. Wells to show how the Victorian social standing contributed to the overall appearance of neglect and welfare of the three oppressive untamed custodians. This was used for effect to mislead the audience by playing on their minds, with such questions as, 'What will they do?' and 'What part do they play in the overall plot of the story?' and is a clever device which succeeded in building tension. I have a slight inclination that "Lorraine Castle", which plays host to the story "The Red Room", is a fictional setting. ...read more.

Middle

Watson into thinking what possible reason other than being an addict to the opium, could have lead Holmes to such a "ceaseless" place, full of "drunken feet" and "bodies lying in strange fantastic poses". This endeavour supports the reader's imagination and provides certain representation as to the current setting. Watson, relieved when his companion revealed that he was "in the midst of a very remarkable inquiry, " and had only been there "in the hope to find a clue". Sherlock Holmes also shows his disbelief at seeing Dr. Watson in such a place. After Holmes 'returns' to his usual self, he begins to tell Watson how he had come to be in "the Bar of Gold". At this point, the audience along with Dr. Watson are in a state of confusion and are a little worried for the safety of Sherlock once he says, "had I been recognised in that den my life would not have been worth an hours purchase, ... and the rascally Lascar has sworn vengeance upon me." Once again a specific place is referred to when Sherlock and Watson depart heading for "Kent". "But I am all in the dark," Watson refers to his lack of knowledge about the case and metaphorically shares this unease with his friend. Sherlock along with the audiences first views upon the case, were that "it seems absurdly simple". Here one would think that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not wish to lull the audience into a false assumption about his main character, but in fact wished to reveal as little about Sherlock Holmes as possible to help maintain the reader's intrigue and mystery about the plot and the characters as well. As the two associates reach Lee (which once more assists the reader in picturing the setting) the Private Investigator starts to describe the background of the case to Dr. Watson. He tells of how "Mrs. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the three other characters hear the man's explanation, they are initially in a state of disbelief, and there is "an interval of silence". The settings, in "The Man with the Twisted Lip", and "The Signalman" are alike, because they both use surroundings that the audience can relate to and use subjects, which are of public interest. The stories can be linked together by the author's use of darkness and light, to signify, heaven and hell. In the same way, the first person narrative, which each story is told in, allows us, the audience, to experience the emotions, thoughts and feelings of the narrator. The authors use different temperatures, to create a certain ambience, which have an effect on the narrator and therefore the audience is aware of them, because people associate heat with life and blood being pumped around a body, whereas coldness with a dead body without any blood running through the veins. The changing shapes seen in "The Red Room" signifies fear and life also, because when life's candle is burnt out, you are said to be dead. To conclude, I would surmise that the later pieces of literature, relate more to each other, than with the earlier piece. This is because the way in which the authors portray characters and their personalities through such short stories differs immensely from that of Dickens' style of writing. However, just because I have made this point, does not automatically mean that, "The Signalman" does not bare any resemblance upon the writing from the late Victorian era, because it does in that the use of settings and uses of light and dark symbolism remain the same throughout the period. I preferred reading the story "The Signalman", because it keeps you enthralled with the plot as it is constantly changing the pace. Overall, the Victorian short stories, utilise a range of devices, which ultimately make them a literary accomplishment to their relevant audiences of the period. Mary Beardshaw 9143 St. Ambrose Barlow RC High 33369 ...read more.

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