The Use Of Language In The Red Room And The Signalman

2221 words - 9 pages

How is language used to create atmosphere in The Red Room and The
Signalman?

In this essay I will be comparing two stories The Signalman and The
Red Room, I will be looking at the language techniques and how they
are used throughout the stories. All language techniques are used for
a reason and in this case it is used to create atmosphere and also
keep the readers attention. The stories are both Victorian and
remembered for their supernatural content as well as the actual story.

The Signalman and The Red Room are both Victorian stories. The
Signalman first appeared in 1866 in a Christmas magazine. Since then
the story has become very popular, this was because the Victorians
enjoyed supernatural stories. They liked reading ghost stories and
stories in which there were mysteries to be solved. The story itself
had a very modern setting for its time, and it being at a railway
station was different because in those times it had just become
popular. Charles Dickens saw trains as dangerous and destructive,
which is why in another story, ‘Dombey and Son’, a train killed a
character in it. He may have seen them as dangerous because in 1865 he
was in a train crash but luckily survived.

Archaisms are used throughout both stories. Archaisms are works which
are old and not used today. Words such as ‘apopelexy’ and ‘alcoves’
aren’t used today but are likely to still be found in the dictionary.
The language used throughout both stories is rather complex and many
sentences are deeply detailed. A well descriptive sentence in The Red
Room is

‘Their very existence was spectral; the cut of their clothing,
fashions born in dead brains’.

This sentence is very descriptive as after reading it you get a clear
picture of what the old people in the red room look like. The picture
the reader gets is that the subject in the sentence is very old and
also that they are idle.

The Red Room is written by H.G Wells and The Signalman is written by
Charles Dickens. In The Signalman, an outsider greets a signalman,
oddly the signalman doesn’t respond and instead he looks in the
opposite direction. The greeting ‘Halloa! Below there!’ was said by
Barbox to the signalman. In the story Barbox is the narrator.
Eventually they do meet and talk, however Barbox finds it difficult to
communicate with the signalman, the signalman thought it was a ghost
because previously when someone had called out the phrase ‘Halloa!
Below there!’ there were two incidents; one where a woman had been
killed and the other where there was a train crash. The signalman was
a very odd person as when he was talking to Barbox he unexpectedly
looked away twice as he may have heard something even though nobody
was around. In the end the signalman ends up getting killed by a train
as the driver shouted out ‘below there! Look out! Look out! For god
sakes clear the way’. He died in the end because he thought it was a
false call as similar phrases were used...

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