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‘The Clubfooted Grocer’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and ‘The Red Room’ by HG Wells

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The Clubfooted Grocer by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who is also the author of Sherlock Holmes and The Red Room by H. G. Wells are examples of pre twentieth century short stories. Society at the time the stories were written had strong opinions on class and in both stories the narrators are upper class young men who look down on lower class people in the story. The Clubfooted Grocer is more a detective story than a ghost story although the main narrator does not actively solve the mystery he just finds the answers in parts all the way through the story.

The Red Room is a ghost story as you are led to believe there to be a ghost within the Red Room when at the end you are told there is nothing to fear but fear itself. The Red Room is left unsolved leaving the reader questioning unlike The Clubfooted Grocer the mystery is solved. The Red Room is set in a dark, draughty, almost abandoned castle apart from the three old people; it is a gothic horror story and is set at Lorraine Castle whereas The Clubfooted Grocer is set in the country. The narrator in The Clubfooted Grocer is confident, brave, loyal, curious and serious.

An example of the main narrator being confident is “I started off on my adventure”. This shows the main narrator as being confident and curious, as he is excited at going to see his uncle even though he had been warned by his mother not to go. And he will explore new places so he is curious as to what he will see. The main narrator is reliable as a storyteller as he is there to witness what was happening he was not just going by what he had been told. The main narrator in The Red Room is confident, brave and proud.

An example of him being confident is when he says, “It will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me”. The above quote shows us that the main narrator is confident and brave as he is saying that it will take a very scary ghost to frighten him, he seems fearless. Both stories contain similar narrators as the main characters. Both narrators are crucial to the story as they help build up mystery and suspense they are both upper class young men who start there journey off confident but end up scared.

The main narrator is shown as upper class when he sees the sailors as coming from another world and he is embarrassed of his uncles cockney accent ” I listened to his villainous accent”. We know the main narrator in The Red Room is of upper class as he looks down upon the old people although they seem to be of the same class this shows how he would be with people of another class. The Clubfooted Grocer starts off slow as background information is given; the story is at its peak in the middle as we get closer and closer to solving the mystery.

The Red Room starts straight into the action and tension and suspense is rising all the time it increases then near the end gradually decreases. The stories are similar as they both have a peak time. The characters in The Clubfooted Grocer are the uncle, Enoch, the sailors, the servant, William and the farmer and farmer’s wife. They all help to intensify the fear created. The uncle, Mr Stephen Maple has lived a rather isolated live as he is hiding from the sailors, he is not a respectable member of their family and has a cockney accent and is involved in dodgy dealings.

Enoch is the uncle’s helper who is very frightened of the danger that he is in. The farmer and farmers wife who make it clear they are not fond of the uncle and they want to get rid of him as soon as they can the farmers wife tries to persuade him not to go to his uncle but to go back to London the main narrators mother is in the beginning of the story to explain what is happening. William collects him from the station takes him to his uncle’s. The characters in The Red Room are the man with the shade, the old man, the old woman, the old man with the withered arm.

All of these characters try to persuade him not to go. The old man says “Its in your own choosing” by the man saying this it makes you want to read more as you wonder why he would say this especially after the old lady says “On this night of all nights”. They all help build up suspense as you wander why they think he should not go and why a certain person does not like the other person so you want to read more and it builds up suspense. The stories are different as one has fewer characters than the other. They are similar as they are both persuaded not to go but both characters continue.

In The Red Room the author uses repetition has the words on “This night of all nights” and “It’s in your own choosing” they use this to draw the readers attention and to make them think there really is something in the room. As the main narrator is walking through the house he describes it as ‘chilly’, ‘echoing’ the narrator says ” A shadow seemed to sweep up over me” this makes the castle sound empty as if it had been for many years and as it is a scary story you are waiting for something to jump out from behind the shadows.

The language featured in the Red Room is very descriptive, pre twentieth century language and adjectives. The Clubfooted Grocer draws close attention to people’s description and accent to give us a good idea of what these people are like. The language featured is pre twentieth century language and adjectives. Language to describe the Moors . The similarities are they both use adjectives and pre twentieth language.

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