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'Using two of the stories from 'Mystery stories of the 19th century', discuss what a typical story contains and whether the stories you have chosen are successful'.

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Name: Ana-Maria Fernandes Date: 20th December 2001 Centre Number: Candidate Number: Title: 'Using two of the stories from 'Mystery stories of the 19th century', discuss what a typical story contains and whether the stories you have chosen are successful' The Victorians were mesmerized and intrigued with the whole concept of death, because they feared and were in awe of it. Mystery plays were used as a form of entertainment, many of these stories were first published in magazines and periodicals. It was here that writers like Bram Stoker and Charles Dickens established their readership as they addressed death and what might become of it. The main elements of a successful mystery story are; setting and atmosphere, as it was unusual: many stories were set in isolated places, characterization, as the main character of the story was usually innocent and unaware of the dangerous situation, suspense, as the writer wants to build up fear and horror in the reader and the supernatural, this is important because the characters are faced with a force that is a mystery to them, they do not know how to overcome it. Stories such as the 'Judge's House' By Bram Stoker and 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens are classic examples of Mystery stories from the nineteenth century. ...read more.


In the house, 'The silence was as of the grave'' This is different as it sets a calm atmosphere compared to rats 'scampering about the house', but never the less it build up fear. When Malcomson is being confronted by the Judge, there was a singing in his hears and 'without, he could hear the roar and howl of the tempest' this creates a dangerous and frightening atmosphere and it shows that nature is in harmony with what is happening. Both these characters are well educated -, Malcomson was student studying for his exams reading 'Eliptic Function' and 'Harmonical Progressions, Permutations and Combinations' and the Signalman, although had 'misused oppurtuities ' was studying 'Natural Philosophy', and is essentially good. Malcomson and his parallel character The signalman, are built up so well and so that when their tragic death occours, the reader is shocked, but not surprised of the supernatural force beyond their control. In the 'Judges House' suspense is gradually built up from the beginning as the reader can sense that something tragic will eventually happen to Malcomson. As Malcomson got 'more and more immersed' in his work', 'all at once he stopped' as he was 'over come by a sudden sense of silence' this builds up suspense because it is a strange, unusual description .As now there was not 'the faintest gnaw, scratch or squeak'. ...read more.


The narrator describes to the Signalman the figure he as seen at the red light 'must be a deception of his sense of sight' and that 'figures originating in disease of delicate nerves which minister the eyes' trouble patients. The narrator says that some people hear 'an imaginary cry' which is 'only the wind in this unnatural valley'. The Narrator, who is a Dr. Has a rational explanation for the Signalman's vision and he refuses to believe that there is a supernatural force acting by the red railway light. As he 'rejoined, that this was a remarkable coincidence'. This, is perhaps why the Victorians were intrigued by the supernatural, as no one could explain it. After the Narrator sees the men waving he has 'an irresistible sense that something was wrong'. We later find out that the Signalman was 'cut down by an engine'. An innocent man has become the victim of a supernatural force. I feel that the two stories I have chosen are examples of successful mystery stories as they blend all the elements together in a way that manages to engage the reader. For example Bram Stoker and Charles Dickens make their characters innocent and likeable, so the reader is genuinely shocked when the inevitable happens. Although these stories were written in the 19th Century, audiences now can enjoy them and they will live through the ages. 1 ...read more.

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