Rummins by Roald Dahl and The Black Veil by Charles Dickens

This assignment is based on two short stories, which we have to compare. One of the two stories is published before 1900. The two stories are both similar because they are included in the genre of “Mystery Story”. The stories are “Rummins” by Roald Dahl and “The Black Veil” by Charles Dickens . The similarity & importance of the titles of the stories is that it is a description of one of the main characters or items in the story with Rummins as the story with Rummins as the old miserable man and The Black Veil over the women’s head.

Rummins is a mysterious story about the disappearance of an old man or suspicious death. The story is set in three sections. The middle section is a flashback set in the countryside Dahl the author creates an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. The Black Veil is about a young doctor living in London who is visited by a strange looking woman dressed in a black veil. He is asked to come to her house to see a man who she says will die tomorrow. He is mystified, but finds she lives in one of the poorest areas of Walworth. The body is of a man who had been hanged.

Rummins is set in the 1960’s in the setting of the countryside. The Countryside is where the background of what happens to the old man is described, therefore it plays an important part of this story. A quote from the story gives it away. Some include “All hayricks got rats” which gives away that it is in the countryside and that hayrick are the main item in the story as it is the hiding place of the old man ,and answers to all the questions. The Black Veil is set in Victorian London in 1800 . Victorian London was a terrible place to live in those days ,especially in Walworth.

Walworth inevitably makes the setting of the story more mysterious and rough as a background because of the reputation the area has. A quote that proves the point “Walworth is a straggling, miserable place enough”. I personally think it brings the story to life, having more atmospheres in it. It also brings out the personalities of the three characters more because of the areas roughness and setting. The description of Walworth is dark and miserable very different compared to the opening of “Rummins” whilst Rummins describes the peaceful quiet and sunny countryside. Walworth is described as a dirty, horrible and violent place to live.

Not very nice as the countryside is safer a tranquil place or area to work and live . The weather in the Black Veil is described as “muddy and mire” but in Rummins the weather is described as “hot & muggy with no breath of wind but above the clouds are moving and changing shape in, the turbulence of the upper air”. The way Dickens the author describes the main character is effective as it enhances the atmosphere of misery, he describes the women wearing a black veil and “dark clothes” , she looked like she was mourning the deceased and stood there motionless these words are thought provoking and create a mysterious atmosphere.

In Rummins he describes him as having “small beady eyes staring, suspicious and broken teeth”. Bert is described as having something wrong with one eye “which follows you wherever you move”. Both of them are described scary characters to look at and I think that’s how they both compare. Roald Dahl and Charles Dickens create atmosphere of few and dislike by mentioning slow motion events near to the end ; also by the changing weather and the dark words they use before the final paragraph.

A quote to prove the point “whatever reflection made him hesitate ,he did hesitate before knocking on the door”. “Both of them motionless like silhouettes against the sky and felt the fine electricity of fear again”. It gives him a feeling that something isn’t right we got a sense of death before the ending because of the words used and situations the characters get into like the hidden man in the dark in the Black Veil. My thoughts are that some readers are still left in doubt because the author doesn’t let you know the full details but gives you clues around the middle of each story.

I personally think that it was the old man in the hayrick . In The Black Veil it tells you the dead man and how he died but in Rummins Dahl leaves you still in doubt. Charles Dickens shows concern for the underworld of 19th Century London and the suffering of those ho lived in it by writing “a filthy looking women to empty the contents of some cooking utensils and eating it”. I personally think The Black Veil is it better than Rummins because he shows concern for the condition in which they live and the health of the people.