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The Signalman By Charles Dickens And The Red Room By H G Wells

2245 words - 9 pages

The Signalman by Charles Dickens The Red Room by H G Wells - Compare these
two stories, commenting upon 1. The settings 2. The narrators 3. The other
characters 4. The endings

'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens

'The Red Room' by H G Wells

Question: Compare these two stories, commenting upon 1. The settings
2. The narrators 3. The other characters 4. The endings. (Pay
attention to historical and literary context).

Charles Dickens lived in the nineteenth century, which was also known
as 'the age of steam'. During this era, the usual form of transport
was by stagecoach. It is therefore suprising that 'The Signalman' is
set within the context of a railway, with the railway being associated
with death. In writing this story Charles Dickens shows his interest
in trains. H G Wells' life spanned the nineteenth and twentieth
century. He was a rationalist and a socialist and believed that there
was an explanation for any event, which happened. For example, in the
case of 'The Red Room' we would have expected the story to end with an
explanation showing that there was no ghost. We know that the narrator
is leading out important points about the ghost but never explaining
his views. He also thought there should be more equality in society.

'The Red Room' by H.G Wells is about a man who visits a castle and
wants to enter 'The Red Room'. He believes the spirits of his
predecessors are there. He is warned not to enter but does and becomes
scared of 'fear'. 'The Signalman' is about a man who meets a signalman
who is having trouble with life. He claims to have premonitions of
future events. The man is shocked when he realises that the signalman
was seeing future events that led to his own death.

The 'Signalman' is set in a deep cutting adjacent to a tunnel with a
railway running through. The story is set in the nineteenth century, a
time when supernatural powers were still believable, so someone
reading this at the time would feel more of the pressure. The scene is
set within a deep cutting at twilight and because of the darkness the
two men don't get to see each other properly until they are face to
face which is too late if one man kills the other. Just before he goes
down the cutting an unknown vibration shakes the ground 'Vague
vibration in the earth and air'. Dickens also uses a lot of effective
adjectives like 'Violent pulsation' this captures the senses and adds
to the tension. This could be the final climax to the building
pressure, but it ends up as being a train. This creates a lot of
tension, which is then lost, after you are enlightened. The cutting
would be pretty dark; this darkness creates the suspended mood. It is
also described as being 'Extremely deep and unusually precipitous' and
'solitary and dismal'. It seems like the place is very isolated and
cut off from the real world, the perfect place for supernatural
happenings 'Great dungeon'. The tunnel also creates suspension. It is
...

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