The Signalman by Charles Dickens and The Red Room by H.G. Wells’To be denied of information as a reader is far more powerful than toknow the truth.’
In this assignment I will be looking at the two short stories writtenin the 1800’s: “The Red Room” by H.G.Wells where a man goes into anapparently haunted room and although he is warned by other oldcharacters he does not listen and the tension builds up as he goesinto the room where fear gets the better of him in a room which mightnot be haunted in the end. The other short story is “The Signalman” byCharles Dickens. In The signalman a man lives separated from the realworld living a lonely life as a signal man at a train station andthinks he might be being visited by a spectre. I will examine thesimilarities and differences between them in content, style andlanguage and I will say something about the influences of the writers’backgrounds and will be comparing how each story creates suspense andtension within them.
Both stories fit in to the Gothic genre with different elementsassociated with the conventions of a gothic genre. The gothic genre ofstories was brought to life in 1764 with Horace Walpole’s ‘The Castleof Otranto’ during the Victorian ages. It included the classicconventions in the setting, atmosphere and story line mainly to createan effect of suspense, tension and mystery used in the gothic genresince then. The Red Room is the more typical Gothic genre and Wellsmakes it clear how ancient and old fashioned everything is in thecastle and includes spiral staircases, secret passages, a suspectedghost haunted room and an eerie atmosphere. Gothic literature attemptsto terrify the reader and it nearly always involves the su…
…nThe Signalman descends the cutting and when, looking at the signalmanwhose actions are very weird and in The Red Room how the old peoplewarn the young man not to go in the room. Suspense is also created asthe signalman tells the gentleman of the weird happenings recently andin The Red Room how tension is built while he stays in the room forlonger. The settings are very mysterious and quite typical of thegothic genre and are even prone to unexplainable events happening.They use the characters’ actions, language and the atmosphere indifferent ways to add to the suspense and tension. Dickens’ story isbased on a more contemporary idea. Both writers also include firstperson narrative adding up to make two suspense filled stories andkeep the overall idea that:
‘To be denied of information as a reader is far more powerful than toknow the truth.’