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Pre 1914 Prose:Coursework “The black cottage”

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Pre 1914 Prose: Coursework "The black cottage" immediately gets you into the gloomy but adventurous mood in which the story is conceived, although you wouldn't be able to tell what "The Signalman" had in store for you by its title. Both of the stories authors Collins and Dickens don't hesitate in making you feel uneasy about the place in which each of the stories is set and the characters in which the stories involve. "The Black Cottage" is not so much a horror story but in a way a mild thriller, which is strange sometimes but an exiting story. The story gives you in many stages of the story that on the edge of your seat feeling as the main character manages to squeeze herself out of tight situations, a lot of the situation which are commonly used nowadays in horror movies, books and stories. The situation in the "Black Cottage" is a young girl who has been left alone in a cottage in the country with the nearest cottage being miles away. "The signalman" in the other hand is not such a quickly paced chiller. A very clever story which is like no other, a strange and unsettling tale of a lonesome signalman who has committed himself to his job, a job as a signalman deep in a railway cutting away from the outside or "normal" world. ...read more.


A bit in the first paragraph of the story which leads you to this conclusion is where the narrator explains "I stood on top of the steep cutting nearly over his head, he turned himself about, and looked down the line. There was something remarkable in his manner of doing so, though I could not have said for my life what." This sense of mysteriousness repeats itself throughout the story and makes it a very tense tale. In the Black Cottage suspense was built up in different ways to the signalman. Collins used action in his story instead of a chilling theme. The setting surroundings, the location of the cottage was one of the main factors that built up suspense. She was alone, in a dingy cottage with valuable belongings, this is just a recipe for something to happen and when your reading the story you can definitely feel something coming on. Creating the right place for the setting of a story is usually one of the most important features in creating a successful story. The setting can influence the reader's emotions and views on the story and also create an atmosphere for the storyline ahead. This is very important in spooky or chilling stories like "the signalman" and "the black cottage" as the setting usually gives the reader a sense of foreboding. ...read more.


Both authors use a vocabulary that probably wouldn't be seen in books and tales nowadays. The language is very important in both stories. Both stories are told from the first person view. This means that you can relate to the character more easily and in both stories you get more into the story as it gos along due to this first persons view. This view also helps to build up the suspense in the story. The fact that the stories were written in the 19th century becomes quite obvious by some of the things each character says. A good example is in the signalman "This was a lonesome post to occupy (I said), and it had riveted my attention when I looked down from up yonder. The choices of language in both of the stories also creates a kind of mysteriousness to readers. There are many differences and many similarities between the two stories "The Signalman" and the "Black cottage". Both stories were mysterious and strange in a way and both authors of the stories managed to build up a lot of suspense to make the stories more exiting and thrilling. You did not know what to expect at the end of each story although the black cottages ending may have been slightly predictable as the same situations and story lines are used in books films and plays to date. All factors involved setting, suspense and structure, language in the stories help to build up suspense which makes them more exiting to read. ...read more.

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