• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens, and 'The Red Room' by H G Wells: Compare these two stories, commenting upon 1. The settings 2. The narrators 3. The other characters 4. The endings. (Pay attention to historical and literary context).

Extracts from this document...


10/12/02 Adem Ali Set 8 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens 'The Red Room' by H G Wells Question: Compare these two stories, commenting upon 1. The settings 2. The narrators 3. The other characters 4. The endings. (Pay attention to historical and literary context). Charles Dickens lived in the nineteenth century, which was also known as 'the age of steam'. During this era, the usual form of transport was by stagecoach. It is therefore suprising that 'The Signalman' is set within the context of a railway, with the railway being associated with death. In writing this story Charles Dickens shows his interest in trains. H G Wells' life spanned the nineteenth and twentieth century. He was a rationalist and a socialist and believed that there was an explanation for any event, which happened. For example, in the case of 'The Red Room' we would have expected the story to end with an explanation showing that there was no ghost. We know that the narrator is leading out important points about the ghost but never explaining his views. He also thought there should be more equality in society. 'The Red Room' by H.G Wells is about a man who visits a castle and wants to enter 'The Red Room'. He believes the spirits of his predecessors are there. He is warned not to enter but does and becomes scared of 'fear'. ...read more.


The narrator in 'The Red Room' is very different from the narrator in 'The Signalman'. The 'Red Room' narrator is arrogant and pompous in what he says and in the way he says it, inverting the word order to try to make him sound higher classed. 'Eight and twenty years I have lived, and never a ghost have I seen as yet'. He believes that his own experiences are all he needs to take into account. He also ignores warnings from the old people as he thinks there is no ghost. Although the two narrators are very different, their actions in some situations are very similar, for example in believing there are no ghosts. At the start of the story the narrator claimed that the supernatural did not exist whereas when the narrator is in the red room and the candles go out, he starts to panic. The panic then increases which shows he is afraid. He claimed before that the supernatural did not exist whereas now he is fearful of it. When a number of candles go out the narrator lets out 'a cry of terror'. As the candles have gone out he tries to relight them from the fire and it instantly disappears; 'I turned to where the flames were still dancing between the glowing coals, and splashing red reflections upon the furniture, made two steps towards the grate, and incontinently the flames dwindled and vanished'. ...read more.


The second unexplained detail is when the narrator tries to light his candle at the fire and 'incontinently the flames dwindled and vanished, the glow vanished, the reflections rushed together and vanished and as I thrust the candle between the bars darkness closed upon me like the shutting of an eye'. As these details do not fit into the narrator's 'rational' explanations he just simply leaves them out. Perhaps his memory was conveniently wiped when he hit his head. H G Wells seems to be interested in the issues concerning the supernatural so there is very little emotion at the end of the story. This is in contrast to 'The Signalman' where we feel great pity and sadness for the signalman's death. Surprisingly Wells includes a touch of humour at the very end when the narrator tries to explain to the custodians that the only thing that made him panic was fear itself. I conclude that 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room' are not similar at all. The only similarity I could find was the in the way both stories are supernatural. I think this because the two men in the story are in two completely different situations. In 'The Red Room' the man is scared and very lonely person. He is scared of 'fear', which he created himself in the first place. The other man is just more mystified than scared. The signalman was only scared for the future, but he did not know his fate. 1 1 Adem Ali 10P ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Signalman section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Signalman essays

  1. How does Charles Dickens create suspense and fear in 'The Signalman?'

    When he found out about the accident, the stranger didn't seem that concerned. The train driver told the stranger the signalman stood at the entrance to the tunnel. So, the driver shouted at the signalman to move. ' Below there look out! Look out! For god sake clear the way!'

  2. The Signalman and The Yellow Wall Paper

    It was however the signalman himself who had died in the final incident, leaving the narrator speechless in the final line as he was shocked by the 'gesticulation he (the driver) had imitated'. There is no conclusion to the story as the narrator is left there oppressed by the horror,

  1. Discuss the effectiveness of the ghost stories by Dickens, Hughes and Rhys. Show some ...

    We find out later on in the story that he is not a ghost but the point is that it gets the reader thinking and that is why the story is so effective. Often the fear a person feels is caused by his or her own mind trying to find

  2. How is mystery and suspense built up through "The Signalman" and "The Red Room"

    The setting in "The Red Room", is one, which exemplifies isolation, it gives a very dark and negative image - as is the case in many Gothic stories. In "The Red Room", the setting of scene is much more efficient and clear than in "The Signalman", Wells has been able

  1. Compare and contrast three 19th Century gothic short stories commenting upon the authors' use ...

    This is referring to a ghost; however, the reader does not know this. Extra climax is built, given to the fact that we only find out what is happening, as the murderer does. A mysterious atmosphere is again emphasised when Brower is alone with this unknown character, "they entered the town, which was all alight, but deserted."

  2. Examine the ways in which Charles Dickens builds suspense in 'The Signalman'

    Now, we think that he is finally starting to believe what he has tried so hard not to for a long time. He is then told about the reappearance of the spectre all week, and how it rings the signalman's bell.

  1. How does Charles Dickens use settings in his story to provoke fear in his ...

    The story raises Victorian like industrialisation and the railways because Victorians had a lot to do with railways. In my opinion the signalman is a typical ghost story because it is set in a dark and spooky place and ends sadly in tragedy, The Victorian reader would have been scared

  2. 'Examine the settings which the writers have chosen for their stories in ''The Signalman'', ...

    the author shrewdly made his hero an amateur detective, often solving crimes for the hapless police. The East End of London was densely populated and was highly polluted, full of smoke-belching factories around which the workers lived in slum housing.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work