The to stories that I’m going to compare are “The Red Room” by H. G. Wells and “The Signalman” by Charles Dickens. “The Red Room” was written in the pre 20th century and “The Signalman” was written earlier. Both stories are of a gothic genre. The authors try to keep the reader gripped until the ending in different ways. Charles Dickens uses strange happenings to get you gripped to reading the book e. g. The narrator calls down at the signalman but instead of looking up to see who is calling, he looks the other way down the track.
This happens at the beginning of the story which is effective because it gets the reader asking questions about the story. Also H G Wells uses strong words to describe things e. g. “steeped in the glow an angry sunset|”. This use of personification “angry” is effective because it gives the reader a clearer view of what is happening. H G Wells creates suspense by repeating “It’s your own choosing”. This is a warning for the narrator from the man with the withered arm.
The narrator has come to prove his point that there is no such thing as the supernatural but the man with the withered arm tries his best to persuade him otherwise. H G Wells creates a weird atmosphere. All the characters in the story are odd in different ways; there is a man with a withered arm, “pale eyes, monstrous shadow”. This creates tension by getting the reader to ask questions about the characters and the gothic theme. H G Wells also describes the house as weird by giving it queer old mirrors and creaking doors.Order now
This also adds to the gothic theme, he repeats the warning “This night of all nights” through the story. This again is trying to persuade the narrator otherwise of his current thoughts. “The Signalman” starts in a weird way, the narrator calls down to the signalman but he doesn’t acknowledge him, this weirdness suggests a gothic story. The story is written in the first person, this has the effect o seeing the story through the narrator’s eyes giving us a better picture of what’s happening. As a reader you have plunged straight into the mystery.
The main character, (The Signalman) begins the weird happenings within the first paragraph, setting a weird feel. This has a big effect on the initial atmosphere of the story as the reader begins asking questions in his head about the story. The tense atmosphere continues throughout, “The Signalman”. “The Red Room” is written in the first person. The effect of this is that you can see through his eyes and have a better picture of what is happening. You also get a better view of the gothic genre. Because of the thorough descriptions.
This story doesn’t put us straight into a false sense of security instead it gradually builds suspense. The suspense in “The Red Room” plummets and climbs a lot, it isn’t a constant suspense. This gives the reader the time to prepare for the next shock. We learn at the beginning of the story that the narrator isn’t easily scared and doesn’t believe in the supernatural. “I can assure you said I that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me”. The greatest suspense begins when the narrator makes his way towards the red room.
The long, draughty, subterranean passage was chilly and dusty, and my candle flared and made the shadows cower and quiver. On entering the red room the narrator is quite calm. “My mind however was perfectly clear”. I postulated quite unreservedly that nothing supernatural could happen” and he doesn’t believe, but when he comes back out of the room he believes and then is scared. “The worst of all the things that haunted poor mortal man said I and that is, in all its nakedness-fear! ” To get a gothic atmosphere the other characters are weird.
The old woman speaks to the narrator without looking him in the eye and breaks into conversation. There’s a man with a funny eye and a man with a withered arm. Both these stories are of the same genre but are different in the way that they create an atmosphere and bring it to a climax. The characters in the stories create atmosphere in different ways also. “The Signalman” creates tension by acting weird. The characters in “The Red Room” are also weird but are in a physical way. In my opinion both stories are as good as each other because of the interesting techniques used.