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

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TITLE: With Reference to "Signalman" by Charles Dickens and "The Red Room" by H.G. Wells, compare the way in which both writers convey an air of mystery and suspense in the 2 short stories. The short stories, "The Signalman" written by Charles Dickens and "The Red Room" by H.G. Wells are both examples of stories in the Gothic genre. Both were written during the Victorian era and use various techniques that were commonly used to build an air of mystery and suspense. Through the Victorian era mystery and suspense were very popular themes; hence it was essential that both writers use these techniques throughout the short stories in order to establish the sense of mystery and suspense. Such techniques include: Ambiguity, an element of supernatural, the use of language and the setting of events. The story "The Red Room" focuses on a main element of isolationism throughout whereas "The Signalman" focuses on creating immense irony that is revealed at the end. "The Signalman" and "The Red Room" both use a high level of ambiguity within the stories to build a sense of both mystery and suspense. The ambiguity within the story builds a sense of mystery and suspense to the reader as it makes the reader wonder; doing this can make the reader speculate where they are struggling to find out the hidden information. Through ambiguity, information is withheld, this creates uncertainty in the mind of the reader, hence; mystery is built inside the readers mind. Suspense if created through the want to find out the hidden information. In "The Red Room" ambiguity is used thoroughly, yet when compared to "The Signalman" the use of ambiguity is less frequent; consequently it is unable to create the same effect as created in "The Signalman". ...read more.


use of such colours: reds - where the effect is increased through the title as well, "The Red Room" and blacks, which correspond to colour of darkness. The imagery here is very vivid and creates a distinct image in the mind of the reader; an image that personifies a dark, negative and evil picture and thus creates mystery and suspense. However, in "The Signalman" the imagery that is used is seen less often throughout the play, however, there are some examples, which can be seen: "dark sallow man, with a dark beard and heavy eyebrows". The imagery here is that of a description of a figure, and expresses a dark image. This conveying an air of mystery as the image is created in the mind of the reader and becomes eager to find more information about the image created. The effect of the imagery here is that the reader is then set a clear image about the character and one which is negative, this build the mystery to find out about the character. In addition, the supernatural element is a technique, which was very popular during the Victorian era and one that was commonly used. The effect is one that has been used in both stories: "The Signalman" and "The Red Room". Wells and Dickens have used this idea to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion for the protagonists, this leads to create a sense of mystery and suspense whereby in an event a realistic effect cannot be found but only the supernatural effect is plausible. In "The Red Room", Wells has used the supernatural element to create a very eerie atmosphere; it has been used to create a very distinct image and creates a lot of drama throughout the story. ...read more.


The metaphor used to create the setting shortly after "Halloa! Below there!" This creates a sense of mystery as the reader is wondering why the sunset would be angry; this is also due to the ambiguity. Hence, creating enormous mystery as the reader is puzzled. The ways in which Wells and Dickens build the setting is very contrasting; yet, both provide an air of mystery and suspense. "The Red Room" is based upon fear and being isolated creating suspense in the mind of the reader. Whereas in "The Signalman" Dickens has chosen to use ambiguity to build an air of mystery. The ways in which H.G. Wells and Charles Dickens have conveyed an air of mystery and suspense are both similar and contrasting. Both "The Red Room" and "The Signalman", use the effect of ambiguity throughout the stories to build a high level of mystery and suspense, they contain similar uses of language, yet, different forms of imagery. They have different level of supernatural presence and contain contrasting settings for the stories. Yet, they both stories still succeed in being able to create an air of mystery and suspense. "The Red Room" is much more effective in being able to create the air of mystery and suspense in the effect of imagery, in that the story is very successfully able to create mystery and suspense with distinct and vivid imagery grouped together with the fact that a lot of the imagery corresponds with the title and with the colour "Red". "The Signalman" however is able to create this atmosphere much greater through the stories ability to keep the reader tense with continuous ambiguity, this keeps the reader in speculation and it forces the reader to come to their own conclusion. ?? ?? ?? ?? Neil Gujar ...read more.

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