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

To what extent is ' The Red Room' a typical ghost story?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Friday January 30th 2004 English Coursework: To what extent is ' The Red Room' a typical ghost story? A typical ghost story consists of various features to make it feel and seem effective. It has a supernatural theme which is present through much of the story, a mysterious setting to also give an eerie effect, for example by setting it in the dark or in an old abandoned building, some suspense and tension, victims and it is reasonably short. The story of ' The Red Room' by H .G. Wells, written in 1896, is narrated by a man who is determined to go to Lorraine Castle to test its reputation as a supernatural place. He comes across three multifarious, 'grotesque custodians' who try to persuade him not to go into the supposedly haunted room. He does so, however, and experiences tremendous shock, trepidation and qualms. This essay will examine this to see how far it is a typical ghost story and how far it is not typical by looking at such features as setting, plot, characters and language. ' The Red Room' is set in Lorraine Castles in the early 19th centaury. In this story, the setting is quite appropriate to the theme as it quite gothic. The castle itself makes us feel uncomfortable. This is a perfect setting for a ghost story, as Lorraine Castles is a Victorian building, which is extremely large and old. The castle probably has long corridors with a few turrets. It would have a North, East, South and West wing and it is likely the ' The Red Room' is situated in a remote part of one of these wings. ...read more.

Middle

' Sombre' means dark. He collects another ten candles from outside and lights them to reassure himself, but even with seventeen candles alight he still does not feel comfortable: " Even with that, however, the brooding expectation of the vigil weighed heavily upon me." When the first candle in the alcove suddenly goes out, he is quite confused and goes on to relight it, only to find that another candle on the wall in front of him goes out, as well as two others. He thinks he must have caused this by the draught of his own body walking by. Now the terror really begins as the candles start to go out as fast as he can relight them. He is losing this battle with fear: " My hands trembled so much that twice, I missed the rough paper of the matchbox." Although there is a logical explanation foe these candles going out, the narrator feels there is an evil presence lurking about: " an invisible hand seemed to sweep out the two candles on the table." The invisible hand is something that we might well expect to find in a typical ghost story, but the word ' seemed' makes it clear that in this story it is the narrator's imagination that causes him to think of the hand: there is no such thing rally. So it can be seen that this story has all the apparatus of a ghost story apart from an actual ghost. Being a rationalist, the narrator puts down the Dukes death to ' apoplexy': " Lorraine Castle, in which the young duke had died. ...read more.

Conclusion

Though the custodians don't understand the rational explanation offered to them and still insist that the castle is cursed, the reader, empathising with the narrator, may find this ending disappointing as the story itself was leading towards something weird, and hideous, whereas it only turned out to be about fear, fear of darkness. This story is mostly telling us about the power of fear and how it takes control of our minds. The author H. G. Wells was famous for his, science fiction stories such as ' The Time Machine', which have some kind of scientific basis. He did not believe in the irrational and is trying to show in ' The Re Room' that the seeming supernatural has a rational explanation, that it is created by suggestions working on a persons mind. This is in a more scientific approach, and helps to explain why ' The Red Room' is not a typical ghost story. The Readers answer to this question about ' To what extent is " The Red Room" a typical ghost story' but it is missing one main criterion, which is a ghost. Despite the fact that there is no ghost in this story, it still seems effective as all the other features like the old furniture, the lack of electricity, the gloomy castle itself and the tension created during his journey to and in ' The Red Room' clearly set an atmosphere appropriate to a ghost story. So as a conclusion, the reader may say that although in some regards, the story does not seem like a typical ghost story, in other ways it has many of the features associated with one and because of this, the reader will certainly feel that they have read a ghost story even though the horror is psychological rather than truly ghostly. By Vibi Rajkumar 10GO!!!!!! ...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 H.G. Wells 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 H.G. Wells essays

  1. English Coursework on Comparing Two Horror Short Stories : The Monkey's Paw and The ...

    Here is another simile that is effective 'darkness closed upon me like the shutting of an eye, wrapped about me in a stifling embrace, sealed my vision, and crushed the last vestiges of reason from my brain' this sentence reflects the panic and terror that the man is going through.

  2. The Red Room and The Monkey's Paw(Compare and Contrast)

    both arrogant in believing in the haunting or curse that they are faced with and in they faced many consequences and retribution. The sergeant major and the three old people are similar because they are characters who warn the others of the consequences of their actions.

  1. The Red Room Examination

    What is it she is afraid of? The obvious conclusion for the audience would be to draw a connection between her staring into the fire, and the dialogue concerning ghosts which follows this description, and therefore believe that she is honestly scared of ghosts.

  2. The red room, the stollen bacillus and the inexperienced ghost

    Wells cleverly entertains the reader as well as passing his opinions into his short stories, such as implying that the narrator's (and the people in the Victorian era) archaic views towards the way men act should be abolished. The comic moments in The Red Room begins when the narrator says,

  1. How typical of Victorian ghost stories is 'The Red Room'?

    The title creates questions, as the reader does not know why the colour red is significant, only that it is usually associated with danger, and fear. This links directly to the Gothic genre, drawing attention to the supposedly haunted Red Room.

  2. A sucessful ghost story needs atmosphere, tension and a scary plot, discuss with reference ...

    The candles going out makes the narrator feel paranoid and makes him more and more scared as the incident goes on. This makes the narrator feel disorientated and then think things that he wouldn't think usually as he starts to have irrational thoughts.

  1. The Red Room

    "There's many things to see" which makes it's eerie. Repetition of the phrase "it's your own choosing" increases the tension and also it is a warning to the hero himself and what he is doing is dangerous and is a matter of life and death.

  2. Compare and Contrast at least two Victorian Ghost Stories.Signal Man and The Red Room

    The author uses a lot of descriptive language, for example, "solitary and dismal" and "barbarous, depressing, and forbidding air". These words immediately create a gloomy atmosphere and the reader begins to imagine the character's dark, damp and dreary surroundings. The use of personification helps the reader to visualise the story,

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