Importance of the settings in The Signal-Mans by Charles Dickens, The Grave by the Handpost by Thomas Hardy and The Red Room by H.G.Wells

Essay by jspearmintHigh School, 10th gradeA, November 2004

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Using your reading of three nineteenth century stories about ghostly and mysterious events, explain the importance of the settings in the stories.

For each story you should

1) Explain briefly what happens in the story

2) Look in detail at

A. The Descriptions of places in the story

B. The Historical time when the story is set

C. The Social class of the main characters

In this essay, I have looked at "The Red Room" by H.G. Wells, "The Signal-Man" by Charles Dickens, and "The Grave by the Handpost" by Thomas Hardy. All of the stories have eerie and mysterious settings, and were all written and set during the nineteenth century. The stories all show aspects of nineteenth century life, and the ideas of the time, including ideas about class, which are often very pronounced in the stories.

In "The Red Room", by H.G. Wells, a man visits Lorraine castle, to try and spend a night in the supposedly haunted room of the title.

He lights candles in the room, but they go out until the room is dark. The man stumbles about in the darkness, hurts himself on the furniture and falls down the stairs. At the end of the story he believes that there were no ghosts at all, and that there is only fear in the room.

Throughout the story, Wells uses descriptions of rooms within the castle to create a mysterious atmosphere. The story begins in a room where the caretakers of the castle have gathered. The first thing described is an old mirror in the room which gives a distorted reflection of the narrator. It suggests that something is not quite right about the place, and perhaps that all is not as it seems.

One of the caretakers has a "monstrous...