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

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Introduction

The Signalman and The Red Room are well known examples of nineteenth ghost stories. Write a critical comparison to these two stories. What do you consider to be their strengths and which stories did you enjoy the most? These stories written pre-1900 at a time when one would have feared the unknown and hadn't benefited from travel, TV, and an education that we have today. These stories have typical features of the 19th century ghost stories such as a castle, candles at night, an uninviting setting, a lonely man and so on. The supernatural means something that is beyond our control and therefore, as humans, we fear what we don't understand, in both stories the writers show how this fear affects people lives. The Signalman is set outside near a railway line whereas The Red Room is set inside a castle largely in one room. The outside setting in The Signalman is described with quite a lot of description, creating an uncertain spooky atmosphere, "Is there any path by which I can come down and speak to you?" ...read more.

Middle

This tells us the man and the people around him are very frightened of this room and won't go even outside it. "You alone". This is telling us they think something really bad is going to happen to them if they go with the visitor. The Signalman has a very steady approach to tension and logical structure and pace- there is one event after the next, all of which are connected. The signalman tells the reader of his fears, his increasing anxiety, the frequency of the ghost's appearance and, the visitor's inability to do anything. Then huge amounts of tension, at the end, mount up as the visitor looks down below. The way that all the tension builds up, at the end, so dramatically it gives a very effective spooky atmosphere. "I put this arm before my eyes not see, and I waved this arm to the last; but it was no use". The ghost is described to look like someone the visitor knows "Like me?" "I don't know. I never saw the face". The signalman shows us he is very anxious, "turned his face toward the little bell when it did NOT ring," this tells us the ...read more.

Conclusion

Even The Red Room's ending is not typical; by having not typical ending this makes the reader more interested in the story and makes them want to read on. It is important when thinking about the visitor's fate to think about the signalman because it's described through the signalman. While thinking about the visitor's fate, through the signalman, we can see how he really died. My favourite story, of the two, is the red room; I really liked the way people kept warning the visitor not to go to the red room, "it's your own choosing", said the man with the withered arm, when the coughing had ceased for a while."" You go alone." It was really funny how people kept warning the visitor not to go to that room because it was haunted and in the end when the visitor went to the room there was nothing there! The room was filled with nothing but people's fear. I have learned fear makes you frightened for no reason whatsoever. Like in The Red Room all the people where scared of the room because of what they have been told about the room but when the visitor actually goes to The Red Room the room it is just normal and filled with fear of people! Aysha Khawaja 1.03.04 ...read more.

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