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How is the Genre of ‘Horror’ Addressed by Different Authors?

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Introduction

Wider Reading How is the Genre of 'Horror' Addressed by Different Authors? Hannah Nicholls 4/30/2007 "The Signalman" was written by Charles Dickens, and is a pre-twentieth century short story. "Bang Bang Who's Dead?" is a contemporary story of the same horror genre by Jane Gardham. The way in which the subject is presented varies in many ways, due to the society and time period in which the story was written. The way horror is presented to the reader is subject to much variability. The background of Charles Dickens features prominently in the story of The Signalman, due to his own experiences in a train crash. The time period in which it was written is at a time when trains were the only means of transport over long distances, and of course they still are the quickest and cheapest means often today. Train crashes were treated with fear, and were significant news stories, as they still are today. This story therefore plays on the preconception of the public, and of Dickens himself, that trains are dangerous and mysterious. ...read more.

Middle

Fran finds out that the ghost of a girl wearing "long black stockings, a white dress and pinafore" is supposed to haunt the garden. This signifies that the girl died during a time when these clothes would have been worn. This could have been much longer before cars were invented; yet the girl was apparently run over by a car. This twists the story, and there is then no logical explanation other than Fran dreaming. Cars were first mass-produced from 1913, resulting in more affordable prices, though due to the war from 1914 - 1918 cars were still only used by the wealthy. Cars had great social impact, being a new symbol of prosperity. The car seems to symbolise something to Fran throughout the whole story. It is her connection to normality and comfort or luxury. It is also a symbol of her status that makes her feel superior over others that don't have such a bold representation of their position. This may be because the ghost girl lived around the time when cars were still a symbol of respectability, and the car becomes increasingly important to Fran during her transition to become the ghost. ...read more.

Conclusion

This connects Fran to the ghost girl instantly, as in this instance it is in reference to the ghost. Each author presents the horror to the reader in a number of different ways. Charles Dickens uses hints of a ghost the whole way through the story, but Jane Gardham uses the presence of the ghost to build up the initial suspense. Each of these devices is equally as effective to set the atmosphere. Hannah Nicholls 4/30/2007 The language in the stories is used in very different ways to give the impression the author wants. Dickens describes his characters and scene vividly, to put an eerie picture in the reader's head, but Gardham uses equally chilling language that gives a pale and incomplete picture of the story which the reader has to embellish on themselves. This is similar to the way that Dickens uses a definite ending to shock the reader, whereas Gardham leaves it open ended. The authors have addressed the genre of horror in very different ways, creating very different effects, although both of the stories are equally as effective. They use devices to create a spooky impression that produces a very powerful effect over the reader, resulting in a successful example of a 'horror story', which relates to the society of the day. ...read more.

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