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Which is the more effective of the supernatural stories of "The Signalman" and "The Red Room"

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Introduction

Which is the more effective of the supernatural stories of "The Signalman" and "The Red Room" Ghost stories in general need to have certain key features if they are to work effectively. The most important factor is that there needs to be a supernatural element. A well-written ghost story needs to be mysterious with mood and atmosphere. There also needs to be suspense so that the reader will continue to the end to find the solution to the ghostly mystery. In this essay I will discuss the effectiveness of 'The Signalman' as a ghost story. The Signalman is a well-constructed, atmospheric piece, about a gentleman who meets a Signalman. The Signalman tells him about a supernatural figure who appears to him at the mouth of the tunnel just before any disaster is about to occur. The narrator's dilemma when he hears the Signalman's unexplained account leads to an exciting ending that keeps the reader's attention. Supernatural figures are a key element required in a ghost story and as stated there is a supernatural figure involved in 'The Signalman' "... 'I, standing at the door, looked towards the red light and saw the spectre again.' He stopped with a fixed look at me." This tells us that the Signalman is very anxious of the spectre because the narrator says that the signalman stopped with a fixed look at him. ...read more.

Middle

He says 'I can assure you that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me'. As the story unravels it is his pride that causes his downfall. In the Red Room we never find out the entire character's name. H.G Wells builds up suspense so that the reader remains interested in the story. He does this by building up the tension all the way until the young man gets to the room. The things the young man says in the first paragraph makes us, the readers see that the young man is going to stay in the room for the whole night and come up unharmed. The other characters in the story are three old people; two old men and one old woman. The first old man is referred as the man with the 'withered arm', the old woman is referred as the 'old woman', and the other old man is referred to as "even more bent, wrinkled and more aged than the first". Even though the old people have lived there for eight-and-twenty years they have never been into that room. The old people don't seen human. H.G Wells creates a lot of suspense during the young man's walk up to the Red Room by letting the young man explore the castle on his way. ...read more.

Conclusion

Light and dark play an important role inside the room because light means certainty and dark means uncertainty. Light represents knowing and dark means unknowing. The ending is something that some of the readers would expect because the young man wakes up with his head bandaged, and the man with the withered arm looking at him and the young man was trying to recollect what had happened. H.G Wells does this to make the reader think the young man is dead. When the three old told him what happed he starts to remember slowly. The old man says to him 'you believe now that the room is haunted.' He then goes on to say 'it is the thing that haunts poor mortal man and that is, in all its nakedness- Fear!' H.G Wells chooses fear because it had no sound, shape, form, or light. I believe "The Red Room" is the more effective of the two supernatural stories because fear seems to take on a personality in itself suggesting it can work against you and have power over you. This is shown by the way in which the narrator reacts to the circumstances in the red room. Wells is effective in creating tension, as we have to wait and find out what really frightened people about the red room. The ending might be seen as a little disappointing because in our 21st century we would rather see what lurks behind the darkness of our mind and our surroundings. ...read more.

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