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Pre-1914 Drama

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Introduction

Examine the settings that the writers have chosen for their stories 'The Signalman', 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' and 'The Red Room'. Consider the effects that each write has created and how they contribute to the atmosphere. During the Victorian era, at the time of the industrial revolution and of unprecedented change, people still liked to go back and read short gothic horror stories which all effectively managed to terrify them. 'The Red Room' written by H.G. Wells, 'The Signalman' written by Charles Dickens and 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' by Arthur Conan Doyle, all rely highly on the use of setting to convey mood and atmosphere to keep the reader hooked until the end. 'The Signalman' keeps the reader in suspense by developing the spectre through out the story and slowly revealing the Signalman's experiences with the spectre. The end is a dramatic anti climax as the Signalman is killed. The story has led us on a path but yet we never find out who or what the spectre really is, only revealing that it appears when an accident is going to happen. 'The Red Room' also uses the supernatural in its mystery and suspense. This story as well as using a developing sequence of spooky events during the night to keep the reader hooked, uses the characters own mind to scare him, discovering that the only thing to fear is fear its self. ...read more.

Middle

This is built up in "the gloomier entrance to a black tunnel". Oppressive imagery is introduced in "a barbarous, depressing and forbidding air". The fact that the air was being personified in this way is so that Dickens could make a more realistic impact on the reader and that the atmosphere is more frightening and menacing. The setting of 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' would have been the most modern setting to the people reading the book. It would have been the most realistic for those reading the story which would have made it better because the audience could have related to it more. The setting is first mentioned in Doctor Watson's home at the beginning. "The hour when a man gives his first yawn", wife doing her "needlework", leaves his "armchair" and "cheery sitting-room." This suggests a happy, warm, inviting home. This is significant because it is a complete contrast to the next location. The Victorian domesticity makes this home safe and predictable. The next main setting that Sir Conan Doyle writes about is a description of east London where Doctor Watson is heading: "a vile alley lurking". The word lurking gives the impression of danger, it makes you think you are being watched. When Watson is travelling in the cab, the lanterns on a cart "throw out two golden tunnels of yellow light, through the gloom." This gives the impression of smoky conditions with eerie yellow beams of light being the only penetration of the smog. ...read more.

Conclusion

The tunnel in 'The Signalman' is described as cold and in 'The Red Room' the corridors of the castle are cold and damp as the narrator walks thorough. But 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' does not use any such cold imagery. This is because it is not a ghost or supernatural story, it's a detective story. The other two use cold to suggest a supernatural presence or a ghost. But there is no ghost or supernatural being in 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' so cold imagery is not used. All three stories use darkness to create suspense and to scare the reader. In 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' the alleys and streets are described as dark and vile. Also the steps leading to the opium den and the den itself are described as dark and 'gloomy'. 'The Signalman' also uses lots of dark imagery to describe the tunnel. And in 'The Red Room' the passageways and rooms are all dark and gloomy. All the stories use darkness to convey a feeling of unknown. If you cannot see everything in a room or space, then you don't know what is there, this creates suspense and frightens the reader because they begin to speculate what evil creature or person may be lurking in the shadows. As I have analysed there are comparables and contrasts in the settings which the writers has chosen in 'The Signalman', 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' and 'The Red Room'. They have, undeniably, all used many techniques to ensure that the settings are unearthly, discomforting and disturbing to the reader. ...read more.

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