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The three 19th century mystery stories I will refer to are 'The Red Room' by H.G Wells, 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The speckled Band' by Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Introduction

English Essay How are strange characters and atmospheric settings used to create effective 10th century mystery stories? Refer to three stories in your response. I think that the main reason that 19th century mystery stories included peculiar characters and atmospheric settings were in order to get the reader pulled into the story and feel everything that the protagonist feels. The three 19th century mystery stories I will refer to are 'The Red Room' by H.G Wells, 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The speckled Band' by Arthur Conan Doyle. Each writer uses different techniques; there are also many that they all use. I will now show you all of the similarities and contrasts. The Red Room's main character is also the narrator; he is a cocky young man who he considers is scared of nothing. He confronts 3 old people who warn him not to go into the 'Red Room' being arrogant he ignores them, he goes to the Red Room and after being so scared he runs away he confronts the 3 old people again, he tells them that it was in fact fear itself that made him scared. In the Signalman the protagonist starts as a curious person interested about what haunts the old signalman. The protagonist goes back to signalman to talk about him more. The third time that the protagonist comes back to the signalman he is dead. ...read more.

Middle

The narrator is caring and curious while the signalman is caring but he is curious in a different way. The Speckled Band's two main characters are extremely different. The Stepfather is an aggressive and almost crazy man. He has strange interests, which makes the reader wonder about him. Holmes on the other hand is clever and almost Godlike at the start but it turns out he is no more godly than you or me. The setting of the Red Room is very gothic set in a large 'haunted' mansion, it has many dark rooms and corridors, which make it seem very scary. It uses imagery and pathetic fallacy to entrance the reader of actually being there. In the Signalman it is very damp and dark much like the Red Room. It is also set next to a railway which is in context with when the text was written, trains were new when this was written and therefore a very 'hot' topic. We know that the setting is very dark because it says 'under the bridge it was as dark as the nights sky'. In the Speckled Band the setting changes a small bit. This is unlike the other 2 stories. The first one or two pages are set in an office while the others are all set in a manor house. I think that the setting is usually quite dark and atmospheric; the writer has achieved this very well using pathetic fallacy and a bit of imagery. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Red Room and The Signalman once agin share this similarity when the Speckled Band does not. In the Red Room there are only 4 characters, they are referred to as 'the man with the withered arm', 'the man with the shade', ' the old woman' and lastly 'I' since the narrator is talking about himself. In The Signalman there are only 2 main characters, the signalman is called 'him' and the narrator is called 'I'. At the end of the story another character called Tom, who is the train driver, talks to the narrator. I do not know why the writer told us the name of the train driver unlike the other 2 characters. In The Speckled Band we know all of the characters names. This is because Watson is telling us about the investigation and there would be no point of telling us Watson's name and no one else's. In conclusion I believe that strange characters and atmospheric settings are used to grab the reader and pull him into the story, create lots of tension and just to make us all enjoy a good read. I think this essay proves that 19th Century mystery stories used many techniques to make the characters peculiar and the settings spooky. The reader is able to learn the characters personalities quickly and is able to work out where the story is taking place; they also know whom the narrator is which enables the reader to what effect the writer is trying to use. ...read more.

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