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monkeys paw, red signalman comparisons

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Pre-19 prose study coursework Question Examine the settings the writer have chosen in "The Signalman", "The Monkey's Paw" and "The Red Room". Consider the effects that each writer has created and how setting contributes to the atmosphere In this essay I am going to discuss three Victorian short stories. The three Victorian short stories are "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs, "The Red Room" by H.G. Wells and "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens. The three Victorian stories have supernatural encounters, they are all three written in the gothic genre. The gothic genre is a genre which aims to create an atmosphere which scares the reader. To do this the writers use several features like a dark, sinister and eerie atmosphere where the characters are isolated, this makes the reader feel isolated as well. The detailed descriptions in these three Victorian stories also make the reader start thinking about the supernatural, this causes an uncomfortable and unnerving atmosphere for the reader. "The Monkey' s Paw" by W. W. Jacobs is about a sergeant-major who goes to India and gets a paw which a fakir puts a spell on the paw so you can wish for something but what ever you wish for does come true but later when you have wished something bad happens as well. ...read more.


These three stories are important short stories written during the Victorian period. The three stories were written in different times "The Signalman was written in 1865, "The Monkey's Paw" was written in 1902 and "The Red Room" was written in 1894. As the three stories were written in different times they contain different gothic elements. Which lead the three stories having differences in atmosphere and setting. It is also important to explain the social and historical background, in the Victorian era there was great change in technology. At this time the Victorians were becoming advanced and new technology was being invented. "The Signalman" was written in the period when the Victorians were inventing new technology. This is shown particularly in "The Signalman" there is a train which is a Victorian invention. The signalman dies in the end of the story because of a train crash. Dickens reflects his own experience of a train crash. In this period when there was more technology some of the Victorians were very intimidated and were against the new technology and inventions because they wanted to stay with the old traditions. On the other hand some people wanted to have new technology and inventions so they were excited and happy with the new technology. ...read more.


Turning to "The Signalman", written by Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens creates an unnatural environment in this story he does this by creating an eerie atmosphere and an unnatural environment. Dickens describes the train as a pulsating monster, he writes, "A vague vibration in the earth and air" then "a violent pulsation" and an "oncoming rush" and "vapour" Dickens describes the train as menacing he describes, it as an earth shaking monster that is going to get the signalman. This emphasises that the railway is dangerous and this can contribute to the suspense of the story by suggesting a possible accident and showing the unnaturalness of this 'new technology'. Dickens uses a metaphor to describe the trapped signalman, he creates a sinister atmosphere by writing "...this great dungeon...". This quotation gives a sense of the signalman being isolated and trapped which contributes to underground tombs and graves. Dungeons can also suggest death because it is where people are isolated this implies a sense of being trapped and closer to both danger and death. Dickens uses a method to create a dark and a gloomy atmosphere, through using words that describe darkness such as " so little sunlight" that "it had an earthly and deathly smell". This is saying that there is not enough sunlight and has a earthly and deadly smell, due to being underground. ...read more.

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