Comparing the Red Room and He Signal Man

Topics: First-person narrative, Charles Dickens, Short story Pages: 4 (1524 words) Published: September 25, 2010

Comparing The Red Room
And The Signal Man

I am going to write my essay on two very good short stories. The Red Room by H.G Wells and the Signal man by Charles Dickens. I am going to explain how the author progressively builds tension and suspense. The authors use different techniques such as the use of light, darkness and colour. The techniques that they use create moods and feelings towards the characters and rooms. The Signalman, is written in the first person, set in an old cutting by a train track, with only a tunnel and a signal box in amongst the trees and bushes. The signalman that uses the box seems to be the only person that ever enters the cutting, causing him to appear lonely and creates an air of mystery around the character. The story tells of how the signalman seems to be able to see a ghost or specter and hears a ringing of a warning bell only he can hear, followed by a tragic and fatal accident on the line he works on every time he hears and sees the warnings. The Red Room, this time set in an old castle and also written in the first person, with the narrator telling of how he challenged the stories of three elderly residents of the castle, who say his room is haunted and should never be used. The narrator, who remains unnamed throughout the story, wants to disprove the stories of the room and spend the night, but after a relatively confident start to his stay, he starts to realise the room could really be haunted as strange occurrences start to happen such as his efforts of lighting the room with candles being thwarted by an increasingly windy room. Both of these stories work to produce fear and suspense for the reader.

One way in which fear and suspense is created is in the use of mysterious characters in both of these short stories. In The Signalman, Dickens uses the signalman himself to create a sense of mystery and suspense around the character and his setting in the cutting and the signal box. The signalman's first response to...
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