The setting is not set till relatively late only being stated about half way through. Doyle creates suspense here by leaving the reader in the dark on the setting almost forcing them to read on to find out. “The great red room of Lorraine castle” the use of the word great suggest that something big has happened in this room creating a foreboding atmosphere.
The rooms name is the red room, this suggest something evil and hellish, red being associated with fire and fire with the devil, this bares resemblance to the other stories as well as making it clear that this room is not a good place. The use of the setting of the castle is key to the haunted and mysterious atmosphere Wells is trying to create. During Victorian times there was giant revival of Gothic interest called neo- Gothicism this was reflected in much architecture of the time and many novels. This makes the castle an ideal setting intriguing the reader and playing further on suspicions and ideas such as castles are haunted.
During the night that the main character spends in the room he experiences many different supernatural occurrences. At one point the narrator is left completely in the dark in a struggle to keep ever going out candles alight. This plays on a key part of the human condition fear of the dark and fear of fear itself. to show the narrators fear is beginning to overcome his able mind, regardless of how much he attempts to not let the situation bother him – “speaking with a half hysterical facetiousness” it is obvious he is overcome with fright. “The worst of all things that haunt poor mortal man and that is, in all its nakedness – Fear!” At the end of the story it becomes apparent to the narrator that there was nothing in the room at all except his own fear and insecurities.
Throughout “The red room” There is never once a reference to a reference to any time period or any object that could be associated with a certain time. This creates and almost timeless quality to the story, adding to the mystery, because you never find out when it is set. Therefore never being able to completely identify with the main characters personal identity, because you do not know what time frame he is from, so never being able to clearly know exactly what type of man he is. Although in contrast this story is all about fear and the human mind which do not need a time to be identified with or understood, giving this story an ingenious timelessness.
The signal man, The red room and The Man With the twisted lip are each stories telling very different and separate tales but all spawn from the same route. Man’s natural curiosity of mystery, the misunderstood and the not understood. All of these story’s have Dark connotations throughout referring to experiences of descending in to hell “A steep flight of stairs leading down to a black gap like the mouth of a cave” leading to the readers mind “leaving the natural world.” or referring to being in hell itself. Whether it be a man made trench of death from ” the signal man,” a self induced hell hole of ruin and addiction from ” the man with the twisted lip” or a natural hell that sprouts out of a man’s own fear from “the red room.”
Each of these stories is written in a first person narrative, This effect encourages the reader to feel not only as if they know the narrators but also that hey are in the exactly the same place as the narrator experiencing his life and everything that happens to them and feeling their emotions just as they do. This technique is used to immerse the reader in to the depths of each text, always including the reader with great effect in to the story.
There is heavy use of imagery in all of these stories, playing an integral part of setting the scene. Whether it be thermal or light all are well backed up and complemented by clever use of adjectives. “‘Its germinating darkness,” from the red room describes a darkness spreading and growing almost sprouting in to life in the room. Thermal imagery is used in the signal man “there was fire,” although this may not seem so obvious i believe that it show that the signal man’s box was warm and safe compared to its harsh surroundings.
Geography can sometimes be extremely important to a story, such as in the ” the man with a twisted lip” where it is important that the reader knows that the story is set in London mentioning areas such as “East of London Bridge” because of the social atmosphere at the time, and the high levels of crime in London, sherlock holmes provided some kind of hope. But in contrast It is not important to know exactly were in the country a story of supernatural mystery happens. In “the signal man” the only crucial facts are that The story is set in a railway trench and in the country were the narrator comes as it seems on holiday.
This probably provides more mystery to the story as it makes the setting seem remote and like anything could happen and probably go un listened to or unnoticed. In “the red room” all that the reader needs to know is that the story is set in a castle with a haunted room. There is no need to know the location because it bares no relevance to the tale what so ever because there is no part of the story that ventures from the castle. All three stories are perfect examples of a variety of Victorian tales of mystery and suspense perfectly showcasing what made them attractive to the Victorian audience.