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Comparison Of Two Short Stories: The Red Room And Farthing House

2267 words - 9 pages

Comparison of Two Short Stories: the Red Room and Farthing House

I have been asked to compare two short stories for my English
coursework. These two stories are called "The Red room" and "Farthing
House". These stories are considerably different, partly because of
the respective eras during which they were written. "Farthing House"
was written by a female author, Susan Hill in 1992, while "The Red
Room" was written by the famous H G Wells in the late 19th Century.
There is almost a century of culture and ideological changes between
the two stories. This difference means the language used and settings
are almost certainly going to be quite different.

"Farthing House" is a more unhackneyed ghost story where the spectre
is not particularly frightening, and there is quite a complex
background; on the other hand "The Red Room" is a classical ghost
story with an evil ghost set in a stereotypical haunted castle with
dark and dingy passages, with occurrences that may be interpreted as
frightening. The main character is a young man willing to investigate
these hauntings, having been warned against such actions by three
strange old people. An obvious difference just from glancing over the
stories is that "The Red Room" is told in first person as it happens,
whereas the latter story, "Farthing House", is told in the first
person in the past tense.

To start comparing I am going to look at the setting of these two
stories. "Farthing House" is set in a nice, cosy and modern old
people's home where everybody seems to be quite contented and happy.
This is completely different to the setting in "The Red Room", which
is a large, old, dark and dingy castle, which is inhabited by three
very strange and decrepit people. The darker gloomier setting gives a
much greater air of fear and apprehension. An added appurtenance of
this tale that sets it as a more frightening story is the physical
descriptions and apparent fears of these elderly people. They have
abnormalities; one has a withered arm, another appears to be unusually
old while the third seems to be relatively normal. These characters
also tend to bicker and argue with each other. The descriptions and
characters outlined contrast completely those in "Farthing House"
where similarly aged residents are happy, surrounded by kind and
gentle nurses in a warm and cosy environment in beautiful countryside.
The initial impressions therefore are a scary setting and characters
in one, contrasted by the opposite in Farthing House. "The Red Room"
opening has been set up to frighten people. The only slight twist in
"Farthing House" is that it is set near a graveyard.

Now I am going to examine how the atmosphere is created in both
stories. In "The Red Room", the first impression that the young man
receives is quite an unsettling one. Although all the...

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