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

How are tension andsuspense created in 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How are tension and suspense created in 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room'? My aim is to analyse the way which tension suspense is built up in two Victorian stories - 'The Red Room' (by H.G Wells) and 'The Signalman' (by Charles Dickens). These two successful authors were both well known for using suspense and tension in their stories. Wells has written many classical books, which include "The Time Machine" and "War of the Worlds". Dickens has written other illustrious books, such as "Christmas Carol", "Great Expectations", and "Oliver Twist". Also in my analysis I will be briefly mentioning "The Clubfooted Grocer" (by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), "The Monkey's Paw" (by W. Jacobs) and "The Tell Tale Heart" by (Edgar Allan Poe). All of these celebrated stories, like most Victorian stories, are short and their genre is gothic horror. Short gothic horror stories were the main form of entertainment in this time period, as there was a lack of electricity then. These stories are strongly related to Victorian beliefs, which were mainly superstition. The reason for this is that the Victorians were slightly uneducated, and didn't know better. Ghosts, witches, supernaturalism and black magic were the main focus of these short stories. 'The Signalman' provides a fine example into how Victorian railways differ from those ones today. Victorian railways were extremely dangerous, and a signalman's job was exceptionally strenuous and demanding. ...read more.

Middle

If the character was well known (like a scientist, doctor or a close friend), then the signalman would be revealing too much, therefore it would create less tension and suspense. However, the narrator is helpless and ordinary, and always wanting to find out more - just like the reader. This point is proved when the narrator says; "I expressly intend to make you another visit." This creates suspense because it informs the reader that there is more to come, and the signalman has not yet finished telling his stories. 'The Signalman' builds up suspense and tension with a rather slow pace. On the other hand, 'The Red Room' is completely different. The length of sentences varies in 'The Red Room', whereas in 'The Signalman' it is mainly lengthy (except for one part). In 'The Red Room', the longer sentences were used less, and only when the mood and atmosphere was fairly calm. However, shorter sentences were used in tight situations; "I stopped abruptly. There was an interval of silence". These short sentences indicate that the narrator is terrified, which adds to the suspense. Suspense and tension is also created when the narrator describes his journey to the red room. The narrator describes his every move in close detail; "The echoes rang up and down the spiral staircase, and shadow came sweeping up after me." This creates a lot of tension for the reader, as if they will be expecting something to happen soon. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I say that 'The Red Room' creates better tension and suspense than "The Signalman". 'The Red Room' uses more description, which gives the reader an accurate picture. Also in 'The Red Room', the reader is always kept at the heart of the action, whereas in 'The Signalman', the reader and narrator are clinging on to information given by the signalman, and wanting to find out more. I think that suspense and tension was created throughout 'The Red Room', but in 'The Signalman', a lot adumbration was used earlier, and it all came into play in one scene. Also, the fact that 'The Red Room' ends in a cliff-hanger, adds more tension to the story. For me, the ending of 'The Signalman' is too abrupt, although tension was still created by the tragedy of the signalman. However, the main difference is that in 'The Red Room', the reader can actually decide what happens, but in 'The Signalman' he cannot. However despite all this, I still believe that these short stories still provide the reader with a thrilling encounter of suspense and tension. I believe that to make a story mysterious and full of suspense you need to create mystery because mystery in the present creates suspense in the future. You must not reveal everything to the reader and leave them to figure it out for themselves. It should keep the reader guessing right till the end of the story. Again, I believe that both these stories achieve this remarkably well and cover all of these points to make the stories full of mystery, suspense and tension. ...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 The Signalman 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 The Signalman essays

  1. How is mystery and suspense built up through "The Signalman" and "The Red Room"

    Hence, building suspense in the story as the reader becomes very eager to find out what she is talking about, especially because this is setting the story. Hiding the information and keeping a level of ambiguity builds suspense. In "The Signalman", Dickens also uses ambiguity in setting the plot in a different context, but provides the same effect.

  2. Compare the two short stories, 'The Signalman' by Dickens and 'The Withered Arm by ...

    By creating a debate and tragic unexplained consequences, the readers are led to decide for themselves if they believe in the existence of the supernatural. An important theme that makes the story be seen as a typical ghost story is the increasing tension and atmosphere that is added throughout the story.

  1. Comparison of 'The Red Room' and 'The Signalman'.

    However, the language takes the reader back to the time when people believed in hauntings and this belief in superstition in turn helps to build an atmosphere of tension. Also the repetition of the words of "the man with the withered arm's" warning, "It's your own choosing" is a warning that adds a ominious feeling to the atmosphere.

  2. How do the writers of 'The Red Room' and 'The Signalman' create fear and ...

    These quotes just briefly sum up the first sighting from the signalman of anything beyond the norm. A further typical component of gothic horror stories is barbarism and brutality. In 'The Signalman' signs of obvious brutality are shown. The sighting of the spectre from the signalman is typically followed on

  1. Both 'The Monkey's Paw' by W.W. Jacobs and 'The Black Veil' by Charles Dickens ...

    After a cryptic silence, the veiled woman leads the doctor to a room upstairs. The room has obviously been neglected, just like the rest of the 'damp' house. A dim light is emitted through a curtain' and the objects in the room prove 'indistinct' because of this.

  2. How does Dickens create an unnerving atmosphere of suspense and tension in "The Signalman"?

    After that short while, the narrator sees a "little group of other men standing at a short distance, to which he seemed to be rehearsing the gesture he made."

  1. Compare how suspense is built up in 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens (1812-1879), and ...

    When the narrator arrives at the bottom, straight away you can see the shock and jolt on the face of the signalman. Why is he like this we ask? This builds suspense because it makes us wonder what is the signalman seeing in this man that us readers cannot see.

  2. The Signalman

    The story opens to dialogue, putting the reader straight into the story. The reticence of the signalman to tell the rambler how to get down is suspicious and adds suspense. There is a tension between the two men when they first meet, this will also add to the suspense.

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