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The Signalman, The Red Room And The Man With The Twisted Lip

3029 words - 12 pages

The Signalman, The Red Room and The Man with the Twisted Lip

“How do Dickens, Wells and Doyle create tension and suspense in The
Signalman, The Red Room and The Man with the Twisted Lip
respectively?”

It is obvious that these tales were written in the mid nineteenth
century because the style of writing is very different to the more
modern techniques writers employ today. In these stories, we are told
about objects which no longer have a place in modern society, such as
'the telegraph' and the 'steam train'. Therefore it was necessary to
look more closely at the scripts to identify how the authors create a
sense of mystery. These are three very different mystery stories, all
of which are trying to keep the reader gripped until the ending.

In these three tales suspense and tension are emphasised greatly and
are conducted through the use of structure, setting, atmosphere,
language and imagery. Whether or not these techniques are successful
is a different story, but definitely pose as a solution for the ending
of each story.

Some investigation on the historical, social and literary background
can help to show why each writer made his particular choice of
setting. The stories, “The Red Room” written by H.G Wells, “The
Signalman” by Charles Dickens and “The Man with the Twisted Lip” by
Conan Doyle were all written in the Victorian era. At that time, the
short story was a popular genre as a form of entertainment. Ghost
stories and thrillers were particularly popular with the Victorian
readers, therefore it was essential for the authors to build tension
and suspense to keep the readers interest. The supernatural element
reflects the Victorian fascination with the paranormal as a reaction
against the rapid advances in science and technology during the 19th
century that seemed to deny the existence of a spiritual dimension to
life. The stories are true mysteries and can have no solutions as
there are about the impossibility of ever knowing what is real.
Dickens’ story “The Signalman” is the oldest of the three, 1866,
whereas the other two are less aged and date back to 1891 for “The Man
with the Twisted Lip” and 1894 for “The Red Room”. Whilst all three
authors are attempting to hold the reader in suspense, the places in
which the various tales are set have proved to be very, very diverse.

“The Signalman” written by Charles Dickens in 1865. Dickens wrote this
thriller a year after he had been involved in a railway accident
himself. When travelling to London, the train derailed at a high speed
killing ten people and injuring many more, consequently influencing
his style of writing. He personally knew of the terrible dangers of
the new technology. Dickens used the fact that it was new technology
and a new era that no one knew what to expect in that it is always
scary experiencing new things. Back in this time, the railway was a
new innovation and was ‘cutting-edge technology’. Therefore this was a
very...

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