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Horror story coursework

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English Coursework- Rough draft During the 19th century, reading horror stories for most people was almost like an obsession. This is because during the Victorian period, the industrial revolution was in full flow, and gothic features in the horror genre were very popular amongst people. It was a cheap pastime, and available, with many short stories, such as Charles dickens 'The signal man' being published in newspapers or magazines. The Victorian period was also a time of rapid development, where new ideas emerged -like the theory of evolution- which unsettled people. This caused a spread of uncertainty and a bit of helplessness, as they no longer knew what the world was heading for?- to think of a possible apocalypse wasn't too farfetched at the time. We will see how uncertainty is a typical convention that is widely used in horror stories, and how it plays a role in the stories that I will examine also I will be discussing the structure of the stories; the characterisation; the themes included in the stories; the setting and the writer's techniques. I am going to first discuss the different techniques and themes used in 'The Judge's House by Bram Stroker'. This story is about a student who is reading Mathematics at university, ends up in an old eerie house which is supposedly haunted by the Judge who used to reside in it. Rumour has it that he was a merciless Judge who used to send innocent people to the gallows. A few people throughout the course of the story try to convince Malcolmson to leave the house, but he is adamant that he shouldn't surrender to other people's unjustified fears. In his three day stay he witnesses unexplainable happenings and also meets with the Judge- as an apparition. At the end of the story we learn that some people come into the house and find Malcolmson hanging limp at the end of rope- the same one which the Judge used on the other witnesses. ...read more.


This is the third time that the number 'three' is made reference to. Malcolmson was warned by three people (Mrs Witham, Mrs Demster, and the Doctor), Stayed in the house for three night, and now the rat seems to prefer the third picture on the wall from the fireplace. I believe Stroker keeps referring to the number 'three' because it is a typical symbol of bad luck where bad things always occur. On his third night, he comes in contact with the Jude's ghost. First there is a sudden stillness and again the whole room is plunged into a red glow that gives off a sinister vibe. While the house falls into loud silence, the outside world is engulfed in a storm. This is also another typical horror story ingredient since it helps to reach a climax quickly. The rope which he could use to call for assistance is cut off, and the mood of the story takes on a swift change, his calm rational self is lost, and he starts to panic, "pang of terror". Malcolmson for the first time is described to be "like a man in palsy", which a great description of somebody is overwhelmed by sudden fear, one that he has been holding back for so long. That was an example of a simile, one of the figurative languages that he makes use of to make his story more dramatic. In the end we learn that Malcolm becomes indifferent to everything and lets the Judge tie the rope around his neck and in effect kill him. The next story I am going to discuss is, 'The Red Room' by H.G Wells. From the title itself we can make it out that the story is going to be about fear or danger, because like in 'The Judge's house', where he mentions the 'red glow', red symbolizes those themes. 'Red Room' is an example of alliteration and helps emphasize the title. ...read more.


This is a common feature in 19th Century horror. The narrator also describes how he could see the 'mental torture' and 'pain of mind' of the signalman, suggesting that the events with the spectre have left his state of mind in tatters. In 19th Century horror stories, characters were often driven mad by the events unfolding in the book At the end of the book, the plot unravels, and all becomes clear. The narrator is shocked to hear of the death of the signalman, who is hit by a train. He then learns that the spectre which had been haunting the signalman was the driver, shouting at him to clear the way. The ending of the book is short, with just a little dialogue after we learn of the death of the signalman, which is common in horror stories of this era, in which there is a death, and a sudden ending to the story. This is also the case with the Judge's house, where they find Malcomson dead at the end of the story, leaving it up to the audience to theorise whether he was hallucinating or was it true. In conclusion, I think 'The red room' was very effective since, the message I think was very dramatic which leaves an impact on the reader. The end dialogues leave the reader pondering about fear. Fear is personified, and it is explained as if it was in itself a being which inflicts paranoia, and leads people to do mad things, leading to their death. These ghost stories show how most unexplained deaths are were thought to have occurred using supernatural phenomena, and the visitor who stayed in the red room was able to contradict that because he got out of his 'supernatural' experience alive, and this in my opinion shows a new idea emerging which directly reflects the era the story was written in. ?? ?? ?? ?? By Bedrea A Laftah Mr Hartley ...read more.

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