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Which Short Horror Story do you find more Horrific?

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Introduction

Which Short Horror Story do you find more Horrific? Dickens uses sophisticated vocabulary and complex sentence structure in The Signalman: "The monstrous thought came into my mind, as I perused the fixed eyes and the saturnine face, that this was a spirit, not a man." This creates tension in The Signalman as there is lots of description and dialogue between the characters hinting to the unnatural but there is a lack of action. Dickens focuses on descriptive techniques to create detailed imagery and relies heavily on the senses of the reader being used: "there was a barbarous, depressing and forbidding air." Dickens lists adjectives in the same, dark, semantic field to emphasise the gloomy setting of the of the railroad cutting. The writing is very atmospherically and highly developed. Jacobs uses excellent language but little description in his story as he dependant on the shock and action to scare the reader. ...read more.

Middle

It was made from unusually clammy stone that became oozier and wetter as I went down." Dickens uses the setting to build atmosphere, using the isolated railroad cutting to create a sense of loneliness. Dickens further develops the setting: "His post was in as solitary and dismal a place as I ever saw." Dickens uses dark and foreboding words to describe the setting adding atmosphere. Jacobs begins the story on a "cold and wet" night in Laburnum Villa. The Monkey's Paw starts in typical horror story fashion with bad weather conditions at night time. This setting builds tension as the reader expects horrible event to unfold similar to that of typical horror stories. However, this initial tension is dropped when it is discovered that father and son are at chess. Mr. White says: "That's the worst of living so far out." Jacobs creates atmosphere in The Monkey's Paw by setting the story in an isolated location that is "beastly" and "slushy." ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens focuses on the description of the signalman in his story, describing other characters in less detail and also chooses not to describe the lonely traveller that the signalman talks to. Jacob's characterisation is very simple because he chooses to describe his characters briefly. In The Monkey's Paw there are a number of characters mentioned but Jacobs uses these characters to move the story on as a pose to developing them. In the opening of The Monkey's Paw the White family are awaiting the arrival of Sergeant-Major Morris, "...a tall, burly man, beady of eye and rubicund of visage." Jacobs only describes the physical appearance of this character. There is very little description of the characters in The Monkey's Paw, and this is more evident when Jacobs writes: "For God's sakes don't let it in." The thing knocking at the door is not described by Jacobs and the horror is left to the reader to imagine. ...read more.

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