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

This essay will consider four of this type of story, by short story writers of the period; Dickens' 'The Signal Man', 'The Monkey's Paw' by W W Jacobs, H G Wells' 'The Red Room' and 'The Dream Woman' by Wilkie Collins.

Extracts from this document...


LOOKING AT THE ATTUTUDES OF THE PERIOD, EXAMINE HOW A RANGE OF 19TH CENTURY WRITERS CREATE MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE IN THEIR SHORT SHORIES The rise in popularity of magazines in Victorian times and the era's fascination in the unknown and supernatural led to immense interest in the short story genre. The key to the success of short stories is holding the reader's attention by the use of interesting and meaningful subject matter, by using a condensed style of writing in order to maintain suspense and intrigue. The Victorian era saw great development in science which led to conflicts in belief between faith and science, and rationalism and the supernatural. Many of the 19th century short stories concerned the supernatural. This essay will consider four of this type of story, by short story writers of the period; Dickens' 'The Signal Man', 'The Monkey's Paw' by W W Jacobs, H G Wells' 'The Red Room' and 'The Dream Woman' by Wilkie Collins. These authors create mystery and suspense in a variety of ways; in the location of the story, the technique of narrative blurring where the readers' imagination is allowed to conjure up its worst fears, inconclusive endings leaving some vital questions unanswered, unseen terror, mysterious characters and the type of language used. I will explore all of these aspects of their writing. ...read more.


at him' and later in the story 'his eyes opened toward the left hand side of his bed, and there stood - the dream woman again? No! His wife; the living reality, with the dream spectre's face'. This mysterious woman makes the reader ask questions as to why she is trying to kill Isaac and she increases the intrigue of the story. Specific techniques of language further obscure the clarity of the story so that tension is created by not revealing who or what is being referred to, this literary effect is called narrative blurring. In 'The Monkey's Paw' a man refers to the main characters' son as 'badly hurt...he was caught in machinery'. Here the writer chooses not to describe what happened to their son, but lets the audience concoct an image of their own, which is far more effective than his own writing as the reader can imagine what they would find the worst. This is the same for the line 'I could only recognize him by his clothing.' Here the writer hints that their boy is dismembered, however he doesn't describe what he looks like, he lets the reader imagine it. And at the end of the story you never see what the thing behind the door is which lets your mind ponder on what it could be and what it looked like. ...read more.


In 'The Dream Woman' the premonition reveals the unseen terror to the audience, which creates suspense throughout the story, especially towards the end, when Isaac meets his wife. Dickens's 'The Signalman' has an unseen terror in the form of his fear of the spectre. This creates a mysterious atmosphere for the reader. Overall it would appear that mystery and suspense is created in a variety of ways using a range of different techniques which were popular in the Victorian era. These stories became very popular as they came around at a time of change, and looked at the possibilities of the supernatural which were unheard of before this time. There are many methods of creating mystery and suspense; the effective use of language and writing styles to create characters of intrigue and mystery. Using locations to create a feeling of loneliness, isolation and despair add to the suspense of a short story. Additionally, short stories often include characters of mystery that the reader never has the opportunity to learn more about, thus maintaining the feeling of suspense. In my opinion one of the most effective ways 19th century writers created mystery and suspense in their short story writing was by quickening the pace and rhythm of the text by using short, snappy sentences and chapters which cannot help to engage the reader and quicken their pulse. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ben Lewis 10T Miss Pettit ...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. Examine how the theme of isolation and the supernatural are explored in 'The signalman', ...

    your face frightens me. Come in to the fire". This shows how his mother cares for him and he knows that he can go to his mother for anything. Further on in the story it states that Isaac had not had a girlfriend in 35 years showing his isolation and lack of friends.

  2. Analysing 4 Short Horror Story Openings.

    This makes the reader question what the signalman is unsure about. When the writer finally gets down into the cutting and he starts to talk to the signalman, the signalman just looks straight past him and looks at the mouth of the tunnel instead.

  1. How does Dickens create a sense of mystery in 'The Signal Man'?

    ,'...lonesome post,' as you can see these small descriptions poured out of Dickens like a never ending river. In my opinion the small descriptions contributed to the enigmatic situation more so than the large descriptions, as the large description consisted of large amounts of facts rather than the more interesting, revealing descriptions, they give the whole piece a tight structure.

  2. Charles Dickins the signal man

    states the signalman as a "he" making the reader feel maybe he isn't human, maybe paranormal. By making the reader question the narrators form, their perception of the story id shaped to make them feel that maybe everyone in the story isn't human, or it makes them not trust the

  1. Discuss the similarities and differences between "A Christmas Carol", "The Signal Man" and "The ...

    Each of the old people looks or acts strangely. 'The old woman sat staring hard into the fire, her pale eyes wide open'. The first old man had a 'withered arm'. 'A second old man... more bent, more wrinkled, more aged even than the first'.

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

    Bronte goes to great lengths to describe the figure, "A tall, thin man, dressed in a blue surtout," "eyes are all glazed and bloodshot and started with frightful prominence from their sockets." Bronte includes various gothic characteristics such as 'tall' and 'dark.' The character is therefore more frightening and intimidating.

  1. "In his short story 'The Signalman' by what means does the author Charles Dickens ...

    Dickens deliberately leaves this up to the reader, which is the final method of creating mystery. Carstens obfuscated sweetsuga's marxism . The story only ever takes place within the cutting. I think this is so that none of the tension is lost, because of this reason the tension is well sustained throughout.

  2. Examine the setting and atmosphere in three Gothic Stories: The Red Room by H.G. ...

    Lord's spirit remain playing the organ, and why only on winter nights?' 'Who is the little girl "...crying, and beating against the windowpanes..." to get in?' Asking and wondering at questions such as these builds anxiety. A sense of horror is also present.

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