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Pre 1914 Literature

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Pre 1914 Literature The Signalman and The Red Room are two well-known short stories written by famous authors H G Wells and Charles Dickens, who both have had years of experience before writing these stories. A great story consists of a moral- a reason why the story has been written. It needs to start off with a conflict scene wear the reader will learn about the disturbance, which will affect the story. There then needs to be a developed plot where there is just one main subject (in this case-fear) where the story will focus on. It needs to have a decent ending that is not too predictable but will satisfy them and leave them wondering about the story. It could maybe end with a twist like in Red Room where there is not actually aghost. The Signalman tells of a railway worker whose job, in a deep cutting, is to attend to the signals. This man, isolated in the course of his work, sees visions - men crying 'halloa! Below there!' and trying to warn him away from mysterious accidents which occur. The Red Room takes on a slightly different view as he is trying to persuade the reader there are no such things as ghosts. Ghost stories can be used as a way of exploring other issues as fear can mean a lot from fear of ghosts or uncertainty to what may happen in the future. ...read more.


We now know the climax of the story will be here, by the mouth of the tunnel. The time of day is very important in ghost stories, especially ones that are written pre 1914, as there was no electricity in most houses. This is a key factor which authors pick up on; they can use imagery to describe these dark places by using similes, metaphors and personification. "Plunged into darkness" and "Feared and fought against." Although the time of day is not spoken about in The Red Room, there is a lot said about how dark it is. The ending is involved, by referring to the candles going out mysteriously so it would suggest it is during the night "two candles were extinguished and the room plummeted into a sombre red and black." A dark setting adds tension and creates a more mysterious atmosphere. Whereas in The Signalman, we are told the ghost only appears during the night. "One moonlight night." Colours are a useful way of reflecting the concerns and faces of the author, as they resemble a lot. Black and red are used in both stories to create fear and danger. The tunnel and the room are black which resembles death and fear of the unknown and red resembles a warning. "The room plummeted into a sombre red and black" and "Terminating a gloomy red light with a black tunnel" Both the stories end in day light which contrasts the dark and lets the reader know it is all over. ...read more.


People of the time would like this, as this is very similar to what they believe in. Although, the ending of The Red Room wasn't very satisfying as it spent a long time building up suspense and this supernatural factor only to be told there was no ghost. I fell the morale of the story is to not be so sceptical of new forms of technology as in a way it tells you not to always believe what other people tell you. The stories raise concern about fate and the after life, they are telling the reader that ghosts do exist. Throughout the Signalman we feel the ghost is evil, but in fact it has always been there, trying to warn him that something will happen. It is just the fact that people won't accept that ghosts can help us and from what they have been told by others- that ghosts are evil. People during Victorian times believed that there are supernatural beings, people were even hung for 'being witches' so these sorts of stories were entertainment for the reader, but also filled their minds with even more uncertainty about the after life. A modern reader would have a different reaction, as we are more sceptical about the after life so wouldn't necessarily believe the story was true but would enjoy reading it. The attitude of the modern person may also affect their beliefs of the story and whether or not it does have a moral or hidden meaning. English Coursework Michael Smith ...read more.

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