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

How do Dickens and Wells create a sinister and supernatural atmosphere in the opening of The Signalman and The Red Room?

Extracts from this document...


How do Dickens and Wells create a sinister and supernatural atmosphere in the opening of The Signalman and The Red Room? In the pre nineteenth century the gothic genre was extremely popular. The stories were set with a horror theme in a supernatural way, including odd behaviour in "The Signalman" and "The Red Room". These usually consisted of dark, gloomy places like castles where supernatural happenings could occur. In this essay I will be talking about two novels "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens and "The Red Room" by H.G. Wells. The story "The Signalman" is a 19th century gothic horror story. The plot of the story is about an isolated railway cutting. It all begins when a traveller meets a lonely signalman who has a tale to tell. "The Signalman" is being haunted by mysterious figure that lurks in the mouth of the rail tunnel, warning him of tragedies. He has appeared not once but twice before and both occasions "The Signalman" witnessed terrible accidents, one a train crash and then a young girl falling from a speeding carriage. "The Red Room" is about a man who visits a castle and wants to enter "The Red Room" that no one enters but he wants to enter. ...read more.


Furthermore "Wells" in addition uses triplets like "Dickens" "their gaunt silences, their bent carriage, their evident unfriendliness" to highlight the supernatural atmosphere. Danger is represented by repetition in "The Red Room" "This night of all nights?" causes the narrator to be scared and not so confident in entering the red room. Techniques such as these are used by both "Wells" and "Dickens" to create a sinister and supernatural atmosphere. The way that Dickens and Wells describe the Signalman and the custodians helps to increase the feeling of supernatural. Firstly the signalman's is described in many ways as well as his "signal box". 'His post was in as solitary and dismal a place as ever I saw'. It is also described as a 'box', which suggests that it very small and cramped. The hut lies on the mouth of a tunnel, which has many references to hell and the supernatural world, 'A dripping wet wall of jagged stone......as if I had left the natural world'. This implies a sinister and evil place which the narrator and reader feel uncomfortable in. In "The Signalman" the signalman experience is the centre of the story whereas the "The Red Room" the old people's experience is the main part of the story. ...read more.


The descriptions and atmosphere in "The Signalman" is supernatural, ghostlike and sinister. It is a "deep", "damp cutting" with a "dark tunnel" described as "barbarous", "depressing" and with "forbidding air". Moreover "Dickens" also uses a lot of effective adjectives such as "Great dungeon" meaning that the place is like a prison damp, cold no light. "Dickens" also has created a setting which is spooky and set at the bottom of a "deep valley" therefore establishing a perfect setting for supernatural things to occur. Secondly "a strip of sky" explains that there is a limited amount of sunlight which is unhealthy and unusual therefore creating a sinister atmosphere to the reader. Both "Wells" and "Dickens" hint the reader of hell and danger like in "The Red Room" "the long, draughty subterranean passage was chilly and dusty" signify hell because hell is underground which was believed at that time as well as in "The Signalman" when the narrator shouts down to hell. Both stories are set in dark, gloomy places, enhanced with gothic description and hint to the reader of a sinister and supernatural atmosphere. In conclusion I believe that both "Dickens" and "Wells" have created a supernatural and sinister in the opening of "The Signalman" and "The Red Room" by the language, setting and descriptions. Even if the setting are different the imagery is very similar. ...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. The Signalman and The Yellow Wall Paper

    'had seen' the narrator before - from the 'red light' in the dark tunnel. This creates a sense of mystery as we are then filled with suspicion about the signalman - could he really be a spirit? Is there some special connection between the narrator and him?

  2. Examine the setting and atmosphere in three Gothic Stories: The Red Room by H.G. ...

    You soon begin to become suspicious of them. The young man is doubtful about the red room being haunted, while the three elder people believe that it is haunted and wouldn't dare to go in. Opposite views build drama and drama builds atmosphere. This is a technique the writer uses to build tension.

  1. Examine the settings which the writers have chosen for their stories in 'the signal ...

    This creates suspense because the tunnel is so mysterious. It is dark so one would not be able to see what could be lurking in there. Suspense is created because of this and because we get the impression that there is some supernatural creature overseeing the whole story. It could be the tunnel, the trains, a ghost or all three together condemning the signalman to darkness and insanity.

  2. Which is the more effective of the supernatural stories of "The Signalman" and "The ...

    is going to happen and the reader will want to read to the end of the story to find out who died. He builds tension by revealing information slowly. On the first visit we feel there is something troubling the Signalman but reader is made to wait.

  1. In this essay I am going to examine the techniques used by Charles Dickesn ...

    Repetition of the word 'dark' creates an idea that the signalman is evil and dangerous; death is related to darkness as well. His post has been written as a 'solitary and dismal' place, giving a feeling that he is lonely and his job is very remote.

  2. I will be examining the settings that the writers have chosen for their stories ...

    the other two stories and so things had changed quite a lot. We can tell that it is Victorian times because the narrator says; "a handsome cab..." we also know this because of the long journey through the village. This story is about a drug addict and drug addiction was

  1. How do Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells create a sinister atmosphere in the opening ...

    The Signalman's odd actions have confused the narrator, which therefore confuses the reader. This creates a supernatural atmosphere. These three quotes indicate the isolation of the Signalman and symbolises hell as well as emphasising the distance between them, Dickens also uses the technique of confusing the narrator to confuse the reader, which results in a supernatural atmosphere.

  2. The signal man and the Red Room are both pieces of unique gothic literature

    as the sound and sight, this technique appears to make the surroundings life like, and at this point the tension and suspense reach its climax. The Signalman is set in a railway cutting because in 1865, when it was wrote, railways were new and considered modern with many unseen dangers

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