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The Signalman and the Red Room are well known examples of nineteenth century ghost stories. Write a critical comparison of these two stories. What do you consider to be their strengths and which of the stories do you enjoy the most.

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Introduction

Saadia Rashid 17th May 2003 English Essay The Signalman and the Red Room are well known examples of nineteenth century ghost stories. Write a critical comparison of these two stories. What do you consider to be their strengths and which of the stories do you enjoy the most. Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells were both living during the Victorian era. The many radical changes in this era tainted their writing. Both Wells and Dickens were against the social situation at the time, this is evident in their writings. Although Britain had many colonies, wealth was not circulating amongst its people. This made life unbearable for some. Dickens and Wells spoke out against this and were concerned with the fate of human society. Dickens wrote many books plays and pamphlets, as well as giving talks, on the effect of an unjust society. Wells, also thought about the effect of an unjust society, but was also interested in science. In The Signalman much of the story takes place outside, this outside atmosphere is embellished with plenty of detail giving it a hesitant environment. ...read more.

Middle

An array of powerful adjectives is utilized by Wells, such as "grand staircase", "great window" this exaggerates the visitor's journey down the corridor. The castle seems gargantuan in size and seems to overwhelm the visitor. Also there is not much dialogue in The Red Room. This is mainly because the visitor is on his own with his mind. Therefore the sentences contain a lot of feelings, we know of his fear, and the way he tries to "restore his nerves". This also helps the reader to understand what is going on in the mind of the character. In the Signalman both characters are essential to the plot. This is because the visitor is outside the problem and tells us the feelings and actions of the signalman. When the signalman is telling of his feelings and incidences he lays "his hand upon my arm", this is what the visitor tells us. The signalman is also essential to the plot as he is the character that sees the spectre. The visitor is narrating the story; he gives us a lot of detail about the actual Signalman. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is evident as at the end he describes what haunted him in the room, "Fear! Fear that will have no light", this is as if he is now able to comprehend what haunted him in the red room. I enjoyed The Red Room more than The Signalman, because I like the pace of the story. The Signalman is quite difficult to grasp the full meaning of the story, for example the visitors own words "For Gods sake, clear the way!" are used by the train driver. The story meaning is intricate to comprehend as the spectre seen by the signalman is actually showing him his death. That is why every time the spectre was seen by the signalman it was always followed by a death. I also like The Red Room because there is a lot of detail given in the setting of the story. The reader is inevitably waiting to hear of a spectre at the end of the story, but the lacks of a spectre does not give a dull finish. The ending perfectly compliments the rest of the story as the fear is personified and makes the ending very unusual. The story has an unusual twist at the end which gives it a far from clich� conclusion. ...read more.

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