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"The Sea Raiders" and "The Fog Horn"


The narratives “The Sea Raiders” (by H. G. Wells), and “The Fog Horn” (by Ray Bradbury) focus on similar issues, events, and feelings. They incorporate similar ideas and themes throughout, such as nature triumphing over machinery and the manmade. The monster triumphs over the foghorn, and the sea creatures over mankind. Also, there are the strange and undiscovered monsters from the sea venturing out to land and into humanity in “The Sea Raiders”.

However, the sentence structures and styles in the two narratives differ, partly due to the separate periods in which they were written.

H. G. Wells wrote “The Sea-Raiders” in the Victorian era, 60 or 70 years before Ray Bradbury’s “The Fog Horn” was published. Places and objects are described using a great deal of detail in “The Sea Raiders”, when compared to “The Fog Horn”, in which the author is quite imprecise when talking about the surroundings and settings, in order to focus the reader’s attention on the characters of the story.

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Bradbury’s purpose is to emphasize the loneliness in the narrative, rather than to build up a clear picture of the scene in the mind of the reader. In “The Fog Horn”, Ray Bradbury makes use of the noun Voice, with a capital letter. This use of a proper noun gives identity, and encourages personification of the foghorn, because it has a voice – a human characteristic. The fact that Voice is spelt with a capital can be compared to texts in the Bible, where the use of capitals is common with words such as God and Lord.

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The story about lighthouse

This theme is continued throughout the story by the way in which the lighthouse is portrayed – with a god-like aura, which can be linked to the idea that the writer of “The Sea Raiders” is almost god-like, as he knows all that is taking place in the story at all times – he is omniscient. The two stories are alike because of the way in which they both include the idea of nature triumphing over machinery and the manmade. In “The Sea Raiders” the cephalopods triumph over the humans by attacking them and showing themselves to be more powerful.

In “The Fog Horn”, the monster: a million years old, destroys the tower, which has been built by mankind, and which is reasonably new. The tower (only a few years old – and destroyed in an instant – “The monster crashed upon the tower. The tower fell”) seems unimportant when we compare it with the age of the monster- Nature’s miracle, which has survived for a million years or more, “”Perhaps it’s a million years old, this one creature””. This adds strength to the idea that mankind and the manmade are insignificant in contrast to the huge scale and power of nature.

The way that Mcdunn is depicted in “The Fog Horn” relates back to this theme, because he too seems to be omniscient, and almost like a god, because he knows a great deal about the monster, due to living alone in the lighthouse for much of his life. Similarly, this biblical theme is present in “The Sea Raiders”, because of the use of words like “smote” and “thus” which were used more often in the Victorian era when the story as written, and which also give the story an old-fashioned tone.

“The Sea Raiders”

In the narrative “The Sea Raiders”, all of the places and people are named (“found early in 1896 by Mr. Jennings, near Land’s End”. ), and scenes and objects are described in great detail. For example the writer describes the rocks precisely, even describing the seaweed on them, and the pools around them (“a broad waste of rock reefs covered with dark sea weed and interspersed with silvery shining tidal pools”). A few of the names sound very exotic, which adds a sense of mystery, and also gives them validity.

Also, use is made of some Latin terminology (“The peculiar species Haploteuthis Ferox”), which gives a distinct feel of realism, and adds authority. This contrasts to “The Fog Horn”, in which the author does not go into great detail about the surroundings that the characters are in, in order to focus the reader’s attention on the monster. “The Sea Raiders” is set in daylight hours (“against the incandescent sky, beneath the sun”), and this is when the monsters are seen attacking humans.

This breaks away from the typical Victorian horror story, where monsters were only spotted at night when there was no sunlight – and therefore people were no longer in danger when it was light. The idea that these monsters attack the humans in the daytime (“tentacles had whipped about his waist and neck”) makes the story even more disconcerting to the reader, as it furthers the sense of fear, and increases the validity of the tale. H. G Wells uses vivid imagery to describe the sea creatures in “The Sea Raiders”, using words and phrases such as “half – digested”.

“The Sea Raiders” was written in the Victorian era, when the ideas in society were very different, and men were considered to be the most important. This is reflected in the narrative, as it is the men who go out to find the monsters, ignorant to the fact that they are in great danger. They are under the impression that they are superior to nature and the monsters. “The Sea Raiders” includes the idea that man and the manmade are higher that nature. On page 419 Mr. Fison sees the monsters from a cliff, “He was walking along a cliff path”.

This can be likened to the idea that mankind are seemingly elevated in importance, and are looking down on nature as their inferior. The monsters disappear into the water (page 423), and are described as “nothing but eyes” looking out from the sea. This gives the monsters intent – as though they are considering the situation and plotting amongst themselves about their plan of action. When the monsters are given intent in this way they seem intelligent, and this makes them appear more frightening to the reader. The reader is also given the impression of real danger on mass.

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"The Sea Raiders" and "The Fog Horn". (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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