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With detailed reference to The Signalman by Charles Dickens and The Red Room show how the writers create an air of mystery.by H. G. Wells, compare the ways in which the two writers sustain/convey an air of mystery and surprise in the two short stories.

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Introduction

The two short stories are very similar in terms of the period in history in which they were written, as well as both being of a similar style of story and genre. But both writers convey an air of mystery and surprise in the two short stories slightly different in some areas, with one of the two sometimes having the greater effect. In The Red Room, by H. G. Wells, the story begins with the three words of the title at the top of the page. The capitalization of 'the' not only signifies the title of the story, but also the importance of the Red Room in the story to come. Also, the colour red is often associated with motifs of either love and comfort, or blood and death/murder. In the sense of the colour being used to mean the latter, the prominence of the word throughout the story is significant in creating an air of mystery and surprise for the reader. The story also begins with dialogue which can be separated into different literary techniques used clever in a short space to convey a sense of immediacy. The use of personal pronouns, 'I' and 'you', create this image of closeness between the reader and the narrator, with the accompanying verb 'assure' creating a sense of surety. The whole passage is also written in the first person, and contains a lot more dialogue than The Signalman in the form of direct speech. First person always creates a sense of immediacy, and this in turn can create a sense of mystery. Anonymity conveys an air of surprise and mystery from when it first used at the beginning of the passage, with each of the characters not being referred to with a given name. 'The man with the withered arm', 'the man with the shade', and other descriptions portray a sense that the elderly people are worn and the signs of old age can be seen in their disabilities. ...read more.

Middle

The precision of the narrator's detailed descriptions was an element of surprise for this detail was not normal, and reflects the characteristics of the Signalman in his daily job as perfectionist and precisionist. He is described with many words linking to a dark motif, such as being a 'dark sallow man', having a 'dark beard', 'heavy eyebrows' and was in place 'solitary and dismal'. Description used by Dickens seamlessly flows from the man to the setting as if the man was part of the landscape, merged like a ghost is to its surroundings. He is also described as being 'lonesome', which may depict an image of insanity when his thoughts and sightings of paranormal existence are merged. The cutting itself is then described as if the narrator 'had left the natural world', creating an air of mystery in the situation where the tunnel has a 'barbarous, depressing, and forbidding air' and these metaphors put emphasis on the mystery in the setting. Use of speech is varied in this short story, as opposed to The Red Room only using direct speech, whereas The Signalman uses both direct and reported speech to help flow with the descriptive elements of the story. Time is therefore important in how it is conveyed in speech, and in various sections of dialogue, Dickens uses reported speech and direct speech to help us understand which point in time we are following: the past or present. In the most part, the direct speech is used to describe the present situation, and reported speech often used to provide exposition for the reader. In the first instance, the Signalman seems to be a quiet man, where he "replied (but without sound), 'Yes' ", and his speech being one of his own as to have formed 'his own crude ideas of its pronunciation' is a suggestion that he was from a poor upbringing or one with no education. ...read more.

Conclusion

precise actions were so alike in those three image shown to us through the writing by Charles Dickens as being of significance, and does not reference other coincidences. This focus poses mystery upon the whole story, but more so in this focal point, and a sense of helplessness to a solitary man seems 'no use' and a 'dreadful time' as described by the driver of the train. It could also be seen that the description of emerging from the tunnel is likewise to similar descriptions of near-death experiences being of a tunnel with a light at the end, or descriptions of Purgatory where the mind can be cleansed of illness, just as the Signalman was cleared of his daunting thoughts. In The Signalman, the sense of mystery is greater emphasised in the entirety of the story with the bleaker setting, whereas The Red Room owes more descriptive elements to the sense of surprise, mostly due to use of frequent punctuation and pause in the sentences. Both short stories are equal in effect for conveying, but The Red Room is more 'efficient' in sustaining a sense of mystery and surprise in that the use of vocabulary and repetition and motifs are far more effective, as well as more literary techniques being used more frequently in this text and the Dickens text. In The Signalman, the descriptions of place and events convey separate areas of mystery and surprise, but not sustain as clearly as H. G. Wells, and the use of speech breaks up the sense of mystery as it can sometimes be misleading in the events. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Chew 10P Name: Matthew Chew Form: 10P Set: 2 Date: 21st December 2009 Title: 'With detailed reference to The Signalman by Charles Dickens and The Red Room by H. G. Wells, compare the ways in which the two writers sustain/convey an air of mystery and surprise in the two short stories.' Texts: 'The Red Room' by H. G. Wells; 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens. ...read more.

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