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Analysis of the three short stories, The Hanged Man's Bride, written in 1860, The Trial For Murder, written in 1865 and Confession Found in a Prison, written in 1842.

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Richard Tandy March 2004 Buile Hill High School Centre Number 33321 English Coursework Charles Dickens Assignment Introduction Based on my study of Charles Dickens, I have decided to focus upon three short stories to write about in detail. These are: The Hanged Man's Bride, written in 1860, The Trial For Murder, written in 1865 and Confession Found in a Prison, written in 1842. To enable me to understand the stories better and also Dicken's interests and motivations, I have carried out necessary research on historical, literacy contexts and other biographical details. Charles Dickens stories could be said to be a reflection of his own childhood because of the intensity in which he writes about the subject - his early years were full of upheaval and uncertainty. He was born in 1812 into a middle-class family, however, his father was declared bankrupt in 1824. His family was sent to the Marshalsea Prison for debtors in London. Charles, however, at the age of 12 was sent to work in a blacking factory, labeling bottles. He lived in lodgings in semi-squalor in an attic room. However, his father borrowed money and Dickens was then sent to a public school called Wellington House, but the masters were savage and academic standards were low. Dickens got a job at 15 as a clerk for a law firm and then later became a freelance reporter. Dickens taught himself shorthand and became a journalist. This put him in good stead and in 1836-7 he brought out in serial form The Pickwick Papers. This was very successful and enabled him to become a full-time writer of novels and stories by his mid-twenties, his first story was Oliver Twist. He died in 1870 aged 56 through over-work - he had been on a number of very successful public readings tours around the country, which drained him, suffering from stress he died of a stroke. ...read more.


It is also the place where the storyteller tries to hide the body by burying it and is the place where justice catches up with the storyteller. The garden is described in some detail so to give the reader a better picture of the scene. For instance, within the text it describes the shrubs where the storyteller hid, the stream at the end of the garden, the dark thicket where he hid the body, and the newly dug up and turfed lawn where he buried the body of the child. However, in The Trial For Murder the key places are where the main action takes place such as the courtroom itself where the trial takes place and the chamber where the jurors stay. Both of these places are again described in some detail, not just the actual buildings themselves but also the atmosphere within them. For example, within the courtroom the narrator talks about "the cloud of fog and breath that was heavy in it" and "a black vapour hanging like a murky curtain outside the great windows". In both places the presence of the ghost appears to the storyteller and to others within the story. In The Hanged Man's Bride the key places are the country house where most of the action takes place, the tree in the garden where the murderer hides the body, and the castle where murderers were hanged. Again these places are described in a great deal of detail. For example, the story opens by the narrator describing in detail the features of the country house such as "an excellent old staircase and oak paneling". The tree where the young boy's body was buried is also described in a great deal of detail as it changes through the various seasons. When the tree is struck by lightening, again the affects of this are described in some detail, giving the reader a clear picture in their mind of what has happened. ...read more.


In Confession Found in a Prison the storyteller explains in the introduction that he is going to be executed for killing the boy. However, the suspense is brought about by the storytellers growing fear of being caught as the story progresses. In The Trial For Murder the suspense is created by the appearance of the ghost which haunts the main character throughout the story and the fact that it is not clear whether this ghost represents good or evil, whether it has good intentions or bad intentions. In The Hanged Man's Bride suspense is created through different incidents in the story such as the appearance of the old men at the beginning, the fate of the young girl once she moves into the house, with the appearance of the young man who may tell the World what has happened, the appearance of the scientists who want to analyse the tree and so may discover the young mans body, and finally as the old man tries to lift the curse by telling his story to the guests. Conclusion From the three stories I have studied; Confession Found in a Prison, The Trial For Murder and The Hanged Man's Bride, my favourite story is The Trial For Murder. I liked this story the best for numerous reasons such as that it was interesting to read Dickens writing about the supernatural in the long introduction that opens the story and throughout the rest of the story; the supernatural is something Dickens was fascinated with and so it was interesting to read one of his stories which is based on both prevalent and his own ideas and issues of the supernatural. I also liked this story because of the dramatic courtroom setting and the interesting theme of the story such as the supernatural proceedings in the courtroom and in the room at the London Tavern where the jury was housed, this also gave an insight into how the legal process operated and how jurors involved in the murder court case were not allowed to mix with other people until the sentence was passed. Page 1 ...read more.

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