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Victorian Short Story comparison - 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens, 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and 'The Red Room' by H.G.Wells.

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Introduction

John Tan Nguyen Victorian Short Stories Final Draft The Signalman by Charles Dickens, 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and 'The Red Room' by H.G.Wells. 'The Signalman', 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' and 'The Red Room' are all Victorian stories written during the reign of Queen Victoria. However, what we need to take into account is the fact that the Victorian era was a time of unprecedented change. This meant that technology was rapidly improving, for example, change was so fast that people living at opposite "poles" of Victoria's era wouldn't have recognised the other person's world; Victoria's reign lasted from 1834 to 1901, a period of 67 years. Charles Dickens' "The Signalman" was written in the mid periods of Victoria's reign, published in 1866 whereas the other two were written much later, with "The Man with the Twisted Lip" being published in 1891 and "The Red Room" published in 1894. 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens was cleverly devised as it mixed the old with the new. The type of novel he wrote was quite common during the Victorian era as they had a particular interest in the Supernatural; ghosts, etc. Charles Dickens was able to add a bit more of excitement to this genre (which usually involved dark, mysterious castles) by integrating it with the railways, a new technology. ...read more.

Middle

seems to be the perfect home for a ghoul to reign without much notice. However, as we gradually become more absorbed into the story, we begin to think about various significances in the story, such as references to a "red light" at the end of the tunnel; as well as the Signalman's seeming paranoia, "... he twice broke off with a fallen colour, turned his face towards the little bell which did NOT ring...and looked out towards the red light near the mouth of the tunnel". Clearly something is not right with this Signalman and this is proved correct later on when he reveals that "... I am troubled, sir, I am troubled." These small elements of information are prominent in the setting of these stories as they make curious as to what is troubling him. In the Red Room, we have a similar style of writing, in which small things are revealed in order to create anxiety as to a situation, and never is this technique used more than in the psychological thriller which is "The Red Room." Here, we have the tale of a young, seemingly arrogant, perhaps narcissistic man who seems to feel that everything is beneath him, "I can assure you... that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me." 'The Red Room' is different to the other stories in the respect that it tries to portray a more "gothic" type of thriller, this includes the "usual suspects" such as a ...read more.

Conclusion

as they give the Victorian reader what they want in a suspense story. They provide the dark, foreboding settings that allow the imagination to run riot. In Charles Dickens' "The Signalman" we have the mystery surrounding the somewhat "ghostly" Signalman and the seeming significance of the red light that resides at the end of a "dark" tunnel. In H.G.Wells "The Red Room" we have the mystery surrounding the castle, and the darkness and uncomforting atmosphere of the room itself. Then we have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Man with the Twisted Lip" in which we have the contrast, from the civilised world of Suburbia to the gloom and murk that is East London (in Victorian times, smog was not uncommon so this description is very literal). In Conclusion, I think that all of these stories have succeeded as short suspense stories; I believe this due to the fact that they introduce us into the story as well as creating settings that related to the reader. I find it strange reading some of these stories of how much London and perhaps England has changed since the period of Victoria's rule but as I stated earlier, this was a time of unprecedented change. Therefore, I can conclude that had these stories not produced the atmosphere and setting that they have, then they would not have been anywhere near as popular, regardless of the contemporary factor, As without a setting, the plot doesn't seem as interesting. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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