A Comparison of The Signalman and The Red Room Essay

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A Comparison of The Signalman and The Red Room

The Signalman and the Red Room are well known examples of nineteenth century ghost stories. Write a critical comparison of these two stories. What do you consider to be their strengths and which of the stories do you enjoy the most.

Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells were both living during the Victorian era. The many radical changes in this era tainted their writing. Both Wells and Dickens were against the social situation at the time, this is evident in their writings. Although Britain had many colonies, wealth was not circulating amongst its people. This made life unbearable for some. Dickens and Wells spoke out against this and were concerned
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In the Red Room the visitor is travelling through a corridor and then into a room. The corridor is "shadowy" and the visitor has to move his candle "from side to side" he does this to see what is before him on either side, before actually moving on. This creates an atmosphere of tension even before he reaches the Red Room. When the visitor enters the red room he notices a "shadow in the alcove", this alarms him and he does not feel quite alone with the presence of the shadow. To "reassure myself" he places candles in various places to block all shadows from forming.

In The Signalman Dickens uses large sentences so the result is therefore trying to create an effect of ongoing images in the mind of the visitor and in the setting of the place. Dickens also uses long sentences in The Signalman, when he is describing the setting. This is because he is trying to create an image in the readers mind; this is achieved by long descriptions. An array of powerful adjectives is utilized by Wells, such as "grand staircase", "great window" this exaggerates the visitor's journey down the corridor. The castle seems gargantuan in size and seems to overwhelm the visitor. Also there is not much dialogue in The Red Room. This is mainly because the visitor is on his own with his mind.
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