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How characteristic are 'The Red Room' and 'The Judge's House' of nineteenth century ghost stories?

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Introduction

How Characteristics are 'The Red Room' and 'The Judge's House' Nineteenth Century Ghost Stories? Nineteenth century ghost stories are typical of the gothic genre. They are referred to as stereotypical, because in the period they were written in, it was the practice to include several distinctive elements which are now exclusively associated with this genre. 'The Red Room' by H. G. Wells (1894) and 'The Judge's House' by Bram Stoker (1891) will be discussed in this essay to assess them as distinctive examples of ghost stories. There are various elements which are distinctive of characteristics of a nineteenth century ghost story. The criteria used to determine 'The Red Room' and 'The Judge's House' are of nineteenth century ghost stories in this essay are, firstly, the setting. This is the background scenery to the story and is, typically of this genre, an isolated place or house. The second element is the inclusion of characters with a variable state of mind throughout the story. This could be a terrifying consuming fear or the complete loss of reason leading to insanity. The incorporation of characters which believe and do not believe in the supernatural is the third element. This allows a wider range of people to read the story and associate with the characters. ...read more.

Middle

The cold plays a role in most ghost stories of any age. The cold adds a sense of foreboding, giving you the feeling something bad could happen. The author also writes a form of personification, 'the shadows cower and quiver.' This gives you the image in your mind that the shadows are alive and sacred. This is also could give the image, that these are the shadows of the souls that died in the red room. On his way to the red room his mind starts to play tricks on him, either to comfort him or to scare him. 'Listening to a rustling that I fancied I heard', but there is, 'absolute silence'. This shows his mind is playing tricks on him. He is hearing rustling when it is silent. There are more effects to the narrator's state of mind. He thinks some objects are alive. 'A bronze group...gave me the impression of someone crouching to waylay me.' To him the bronze group is alive and wants to attack him in the darkness. The narrator is confident at the start of the story but has doubt building up in him, so he starts to examine the room. 'I pulled up the blinds and examined the fastenings of the several windows'. This shows that the windows are fastened shut and you may not be able to get in or out. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is a disbeliever in the supernatural and dismisses all the warnings. The narrator's opening line is, 'I can assure you that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me'. This makes him seem both proud and sceptical to the reader. The reader will also, knowing this is a ghost story, assume the narrator will change his attitude during the story because of a supernatural event. This change of perception in such a rational character will change the perception of a reader in a similar way. The descriptions of the custodians show that not only they believe in the red room, but the red room has affected them in such a way, that they are supernatural. To show that they believe in the supernatural, there is repetition of, 'it's your own choosing', and, 'this night of all nights'. This also gives a sense of foreboding. The old lady also says, 'you go alone'. In a way they are trying to make him not go to the red room. But, when they realise they can't stop him, the 'man with the withered arm' decides to give him a drink. This might help him not be afraid or make him more afraid of the red room. The focus on the eyes and their description makes you think they are supernatural. The eyes of the second old man are shown as, 'small and bright and inflamed', plus, 'red eyes'. This gives the sense of you being watched. ...read more.

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