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

Gothic essay, monkey's paw

Extracts from this document...


How do the writers create atmosphere and build tension in the three Victorian short stories? WW Jacobs, Charles Dickens and HG Wells all use sophisticated techniques to create atmosphere and build tension in their gothic short stories. In this essay I shall be comparing and analysing three short stories, one from each author. 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens is a tale of a signalman haunted by a spectre on the line. The mysterious story filled with fear and foreboding results in the death of this troubled character. 'The Monkey's Paw' written by WW Jacobs is a magnificent story that is shadowed with superstition and tragedy, a tale of a cursed charm that brings sorrow to a somewhat content family. Finally, 'The Red Room' by HG Wells revolves around fear and mystery, bringing light on a haunted castle. All of the above stories succeed through the important use of atmosphere and tension, keeping the reader hooked until the end. The social and historical context in all three stories I am analysing, is made clear through traditional language and references to popular ideas of the time. The gothic theme of the stories relates to the Victorian time at which they were all written. 'The Signalman' includes themes of death, danger and the supernatural, common to the gothic genre, illuminating the superstitious society of the Victorian era. Combing the theme of 'spectres' with the new and mysterious invention of the time, trains, Dickens creates an eerie atmosphere throughout the short story. WW Jacobs uses similar aspects of the gothic era to create atmosphere and build tension within his dramatic mystery, 'The Monkey's Paw'. Superstition plays an important role in this tale, reflecting the historical background of the short story. ...read more.


The other characters in Wells' short story also contribute to the atmosphere and tension created, predominately at the beginning. These 'old' and 'withered' characters add to the story's gothic atmosphere through their emaciated like description; " ...Second old man entered, more bend, more wrinkled, More aged even than the first. ...And his lower lip, half Averted, hung pale and pink from his decaying teeth." The vivid description of this particular character enhances the sinister atmosphere of the already recognisably gothic story. The language that all three authors use in their Victorian short stories is that which skilfully and subtly creates tension and atmosphere, keeping a constant level of suspense when needed and also maximizing this anticipation in other parts. The devices they use to create this effect are varied, from traditional poetic imagery devices such as metaphors and similes through to pathetic fallacy and vocabulary that the authors use. Examples of these techniques are found in all three stories, with some using more of one technique than others. In 'The Monkey's Paw', WW Jacobs frequently uses typical Victorian language, for example; 'fakir' and 'talisman', words commonly used and associated with the gothic era. This use of vocabulary helps to create the gothic, intriguing atmosphere of Jacobs' short story. Jacobs also uses a variation of sentence types, to keep the reader in suspense and to vary the structure of the story. H G Wells uses imagery to great effect in his short story, 'The Red Room', this technique aids Wells to create a certain atmosphere and to sustain or create suspense. Wells on various occasion uses imagery such as metaphor and simile to describe the vast darkness the narrator is experiencing; the following simile is an example of this; "...Closed upon me like the ...read more.


Another example of this device is found within the dialect of the hosts. Wells' uses repetition of certain speech from these 'withered' characters to foreshadow the terror that awaits the narrator; "It is your own choosing", said the man with the withered arm..." This line is repeated a total of four times before the narrator sets of on his journey through the castle, as is the line; "This night of all nights" These two repeated lines suggest that these characters are wary of what will happen to the narrator on his quest, this foreshadows the horror that lies dormant in the narrator until he enters the 'red room', creating suspense for the reader. The plot and structure of these three short stories is another element that adds to the atmosphere and also helps create and maintain suspense, throughout the stories. The exciting, horrific and appealing plots of these Victorian short stories adds to their tension due to the audience becoming enthralled with the stories and their characters, wanting to know their fate whether it be good or bad. To conclude, all three of the Victorian short stories, written in the gothic style, that I have been analysing have shown great technique through and through. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying the various techniques the authors have used to create atmosphere and build tension within their short stories, from the language they have used through to vast contrasts. All these devices have proved more than successful for Dickens, Wells and Jacobs as I am sure they have for many authors of their time and authors writing their first few narratives today. These techniques, I believe, will be used for generations to come, across different genres to succeed in creating atmosphere and building tension within stories enjoyed by many. Alice Roberson English Coursework ...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 Miscellaneous 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 Miscellaneous essays

  1. With reference to the The Monkeys Paw by W.W Jacobs and to The signalman ...

    He is telling his tales to the father and son. When the father and Sergeant start talking the father says "when we went away he was a slip of a youth in the warehouse. Now look at him." This tells you that the father and Sergeant Major have been friends for along time.

  2. How is a sense of fear created in the reader in Gothic short stories?

    He is very paranoid and gets alarmed by any sound or noise. He is also very afraid of every shadow he sees "A shadow came sweeping up after me" and "made the shadows cower and quiver." Another example of when the narrator experiences fear is when he sees a shadow

  1. Mayor of CasterBridge Essay

    Finally, one of the most explicit characteristics of Michael Henchard shown by Hardy is the short temper that he has. "Henchard's face darkened. There was temper under the thin bland surface," this quotation is from the part of the book when Henchard is the Mayor of Casterbridge, a farmer had

  2. The Use of the Supernatural in the Three Stories: The Withered Arm, The Red ...

    Wells thinks that the readers will have. By using this man, he shows that even if you do not believe in the supernatural, you can still scare yourself and use your imagination. Imagery is an effect often used in the three stories to portray the supernatural. W.W.

  1. Comparison of 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas Hardy and 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles ...

    'He do bring' is just one of the few West Country phrases Hardy uses in creating this image. On the contrary, 'A Christmas Carol' uses language that is much more formal. 'There are many things from which I might have derived good' is just one example showing how the language is more formal.

  2. Horror story coursework

    or possibly he is in the presence of some invisible being- for example an apparition. At midnight, Malcolmson is overcome by a cold eerie feeling, and this was in the presence of the biggest rat with 'baleful eyes' which "shone in the lamplight with added vindictiveness".

  1. Shades Of Grey- A Short Story

    She had lost everyone she had ever loved, but Timmy and his father. She was the oldest person in the village, and none of her neighbours were her own generation any longer. She was a lonely woman, but a capable one.

  2. How does Arthur Conan Doyle use features of the detective and gothic genres to ...

    Doyle represents imagery through the characters; here he portrays darkness and gloom: "...at his dark and expressive face." Evidently Conan Doyle has represented dark imagery through the characters facial and body expressions. He wants the reader to feel the darkness, and gloom that is going to be presented later on in the novel.

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