An Arrest, Napoleon and the Spectre and Signal Man
An Arrest, Napoleon and the Spectre and Signal Man

An Arrest, Napoleon and the Spectre and Signal Man

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  • Pages: 3 (1448 words)
  • Published: October 14, 2017
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The first gothic short story was written by Horace Walpole in 1765. The first gothic short story was called “the caste log Otranto”; from this the whole gothic short story tradition began when readers found this novel to be electrifying, original, thrilling and suspenseful. Gothic short stories are based on the supernatural, and its medieval trappings, all of which have become the stereotypical of the gothic short stories.

The word “Goth” originally came from the Germanic tribe. The Romans regarded them as barbaric and uncultured. Gothic was later applied to the style of medieval architecture.Then the term later appeared tot the late 18/19th century style of literature which had a fascination with death and the supernatural. Many gothic short stories have a villain in them for example “the castle of Otranto” has a villain called Manfred.

Other short stories have a villain that is a ghost like the three short stories I am going to compare. In all these three short stories they are linked through the appearance of a ghost. These stories that I am going comparing are called: “An Arrest”, “Napoleon and the Spectre” and “Signal Man”. The story “An Arrest” was written by Ambrose Bierce.

Where a man called Orrin Brower is in a country jail awaiting his trial. Orrin Brower knocks out his jailer with an iron bar and robbing him of his keys he takes off into the nigh, where he enters the local forest “wilder than it is now” this is emphasised. The sun has now set no

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w and it had grown dark, “with neither moon nor stars visible”. Brower heads off into the overgrown forest, where he walks around trying to get as far as possible from the jail, he realises that he could be going round in circles.

Even though Brower knows a herd of people will be soon on his tracks like bloodhounds sniffing their way to him.Brower thinks all this is worth it even for an hour’s freedom. Finally Brower transpired from the forest and appears on an old road. Looking in front of him he sees a distinct figure of a man standing before him, “indistinctly, the figure of a man, motionless in the gloom”. These lexical choices, “indistinctly”, “motionless”, “gloom” is all used to add to the supernatural feeling of the story.

The figure of a man directly points in a direction, Brower looks at the figure and submissively obeying his orders Brower heads off in the direction indicated.While Brower and this mysterious figure are walking in this direction sneakily Brower quickly turns his head while the figure sails through the moonlight. This allows Brower time to realise the figure standing behind him is Burton Duff his former jailer. The figure was pointing a way back to the country jail were Brower was until recently a prisoner at. On the way to the jail Brower and this figure walk through a ghost like town, it is a ghost like town because all the men have been called to the prison to look for Brower and all the women and children have been safely locked up in their houses.

Brower walk

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up to the front gates of the jail were a few armed guards are preparing to start searching for him. They are crowed around a small table were a lifeless corpse was lying. On a second glance Brower notices that this man lying on the table is in fact the body of dead Burton Duff. When looking back over his shoulder where the figure should have been standing, he immediately realises that the figure could only have been some sort of evil ghost like creature coming back to haunt him for killing Burton Duff. This leads Brower’s mind too far into insanity to ever come back.Strangely this leads the reader to feel sorry for Brower as the only kind of life anyone can live after that kind of experience can only be a bad one.

In the next story “The Signalman” is set in a pit down by a tunnel alongside a train track. This light deprived space is where the signalman lives his life. This adds to the effect of loneliness because most readers would fear to live in a place with “dripping wet walls of jagged stone on either side of him”. The story begins with an unfamiliar stranger at the top of the “extremely deep cutting” shouting “Helloa!Below! ” You later learn that these few words become very significant in the story. The man then takes the “zigzag descending path notched out” down to the signal man, who seemed confused by the words which the stranger had spoken because they are the extract same words that a person before him, standing in front of the danger light, had shouted before a devastating accident occurred.

This man had one arm across his face and the other was “violently waved”. After seeing this figure for the third time the signal man dies.This is very ironic as that railway was such a big part of his life but in the end was the undoing of him and his mind. This makes the reader wonder what it would be like to live such a boring life; always in the same place; never meeting new people. The final story is called “Napoleon and the Spectre” by Charlotte Bronte. It is set in Napoleon’s bedroom where he is settling down for the night and going to sleep.

When all of a sudden he starts to feels thirsty. This adds to the supernatural effect of the story as Napoleon suddenly begins to feel thirsty as soon as he lies down.Napoleon is known as a strong hero who is mostly confident but can be cowardly at times. Napoleon lies back down when he is disturb by a “rustling noise” which moves around his bedroom. The spectre appears and takes him along “long, vaulted passage” to the streets of Paris. They enter a house and are greeted by a group of beautiful young women except for their masks which represented death heads.

To the reader this scene seems unusual because most people would feel uneasy in a place with beautiful young women wearing such ghastly death heads.The emperor then notices that he is in his wife’s

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