My assignment is to compare the two stories `The Red Room` by H.G Wells and `Farthing House` by Susan Hill. I will compare the two stories by looking at the descriptions such as genre, characters, structure, style, atmosphere and setting.
H.G. Wells was a pre twentieth century author, he was a very famous writer and that why his name still appears on the National Curriculum reading list for his contributions in development of the science fiction genre and also from his writing experience, he wrote many science fiction stories like `The War of the Worlds` and `The Time Machine` where he described his own science fiction adventures but `The Red Room` was not written like the other stories .It was a type of ghost story to inspire the interest of Victorian readers .It was written during the 19th century as a gothic ghost story which is a romantic fiction from English literature .
However, Susan Hill’s `Farthing House` was written in 20th century .So the type of English literature is different because the author will write what kind of stories do the society wants to read and also what kind of literature do the reader want to read so her story was a 20th century modern story but she also uses some gothic literature in her story.
The both authors explain their stories in different point of views Well’s was a male writer so he explain his story in bravery and in scary situations, while the Hill’s was female writer so she write her story in her style of emotions and in mysterious situations. Although the both stories are of the ghost genre, but in a number of ways they are very different the most striking difference between the `The Red Room` and `Farthing House` is the emotions of each story teller feels as the both of the stories begin to develop. HGWells described the emotions of young man storyteller in continuous growth of tension while Susan Hill’s story was in calm mood but as then she describes her story the tension builds again and then falls away then builds again. So in both stories the emotions can be described as in tension, fear, sympathy, and in sadness.
The starting of the `The Red Room` starts with the 28 year old young man saying
“I can assure you, that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me”
H.G Well’s writes the story from the young man point of view where the young man is rather sure of himself and quite boastful.
However in `Farthing House` the impact of the story begins with
” I have never told you any of this before, I have never told anyone and indeed”
While Susan Hill’s writes her story from the female storyteller which Hill focused on her strength of conviction. And it is very interesting to note that Susan Hill’s `Farthing House ` draws the reader attention towards the narrator from the very start of the story.
The young man is not afraid of ghost, which helps to make the story very interesting right from begin.
“I have lived and never seen a ghost yet”
The mood of the young male storyteller at the beginning of `The Red Room` could be described as `very confident`.
At the start of `Farthing House` the female storyteller writes a letter to her daughter who is pregnant, she writes about her ghoulish experience of handling anxieties and tension.
“It is true, and for that very reason you must not hear it just now. You will be prey to enough anxieties and fancies without my adding ghosts to them, the time before the birth of child”
While in `Farthing House` the emotions of the female storyteller in the beginning of the story can be described as in calm mood.
“If I said a little louder, if you will show me to this haunted room of yours, I will relieve you from task of entering me”
As the story progresses the young man is quite sure that he will show the old custodian’s that he was spending the night in that haunted room.
“I am sure of that .Now it has all come back to me, I do not want to let it to go again, I must set it down ”
This immediately makes the reader think that the lady is very start and she wants to get the very sad moment in her life
By the time young man’s boastful character begins to break down as the story progresses. At the same time, the language of the story changes and the level of tension increase and the story then start to be more exciting.
“My candle was a little tongue of light vastness, that failed to pierce the opposite end of the room”
“By this time I was in a state of considerable nervous tension”
While in `Farthing House ` Susan Hill’s describe the female storyteller mood in different kind of styles, from the start of the story the sinister she describes is calm mood, but as then she moves to describe her story she is then get in anxiety and in great tension and the story then bent to be more and more mysterious.
H.G Wells writing techniques are successful at creating suspense because this makes the reader want to read more and more about what might happen next .He attract the reader’s suspense by his skillful use of climaxes within the care fully controlled plot and by ensuring that the reader is left on shock that what will be next. And also He describes his story from his language literation, which helped his story to be more exciting and in suspense.
“With a cry of terror, I dashed at the alcove”
“The somber reds and blacks of the room troubled”
By describing the characters of Lorraine castle in `The Red Room` such as ‘grotesque’, decaying yellow teeth, ‘hanging lip’ and ‘ a man with shade’. Such details of characters help to build tension, making us wonder who are those people and what might happen.
Wells was also successful at creating different kinds of atmospheres. He has set the story at nighttime that created an environment, which is in full of fear, and reader would find it more interesting to read.
“There is Fear in that room of hers …black Fear”
In comparison the `Farthing House` characters are very kind and helpful, even clam. Hill created such an atmosphere that was calm through out the whole story but she also uses such scared descriptions like ‘The crying of baby’ where reader attention is immediately directed towards it. She given the readers interest in sustained not only by the progressive revelations but also by their desire to find out whom the baby was. Hill created such environment’s that attracts to reader imagination. He describes the story in different kind of atmospheres such as mysterious calm, superstitious, suspense and in exciting.
In `The Red Room` the reader’s attention is immediately directed to the `old custodians` who were only described by their physical deformities,
“It is your own choosing, said the man with the withered arm”
“As a second old man entered, more bent more wrinkled, more aged even than the first ”
“This night for all nights, said the old women”
Where in `farthing house` the characters were described from their names not like the characters in `The Red Room`. The characters in `Farthing House` were given the names,
The settings of both of the stories were placed in old gothic houses. `The Red Room` setting was in an old folks home where the old custodians who believed that there was a ghost in the room. While in `Farthing House` the house was used as a small hospital for the troops in World War 2,but before the war it was used as a home for young women who had illegitimate babies.
Although both stories were enjoyable and exciting but I enjoyed `The Red Room` more because it was very exciting ghost story to inspire the reader. The author used lots of techniques to make it a successful ghost story. From the start to the end of the story, its was written in a very superstitious manner. So that reader should not be bored and reader may think that what might happen next. This makes more suspense, which I think is the best way of attracting the reader imagination that H.G Wells focused very much.