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The three Victorian short stories I have chosen to analyse are:"The Red Room" by H.G Wells"The Signalman" by Charles DickensAn Arrest" by Ambrose Bierce

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Introduction

Prose Study Three Victorian Short Stories The three Victorian short stories I have chosen to analyse are: "The Red Room" by H.G Wells "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens "An Arrest" by Ambrose Bierce The Victorian era, spanning from 1830-1901, was a period of dramatic change with the rapid extension of colonialism through Africa, Asia and the West Indies making England a world power and relocating the perceived centre of western civilisation to London. Advances in industry, science, technology, architecture, medicine and travel were among these changes as well as the growing interest, among the masses, in the occult, supernatural and life. H.G Wells' book "The Red Room" is the first I will examine. The story begins when a young scientist sets out to prove that the "Red Room" in a castle is not haunted, but later thinks otherwise when he actually goes in himself. ...read more.

Middle

Many other words such as "omens", "spiritual", "ghosts", "witches", "shadows", "echoes", "haunted", "spectral" and "subterranean" are piled on the reader to create a sense of fear, vulnerability and death. Next is "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens, which is about a visit from a ghost. The setting for this story is very old, depressing, dingy and gloomy but the scenery around the signalman isn't reflected in his personality. His "box" is located underground next to the railway line. Straight away the setting seems to be weird as it's descending down, as if almost entering hell, "zigzag path descending down". I think this because most nice stairways are straight and go up, not uneven. The writer also describes the place as a "great dungeon"; this says to me that it's a place of death and torture because those are the words I would think of when "dungeon" is mentioned. ...read more.

Conclusion

The forest on the other hand is portrayed as a confusing place of darkness with words like "dark" used to describe it. When the prisoner meets the ghost it "points towards and beyond him", the prisoner "understood" and walked in the direction he told him to because he knew his time was up. Also he "didn't dare to breathe or look either side of him" because he knew the ghost was still there. In conclusion all three authors managed successfully to create a sense of fear to the reader through the language they used. I preferred "The Red Room" because it used very effective words, which created the perfect environment for a supernatural story. The stories all tie in with the growing interest in the supernatural in the Victorian period. ...read more.

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