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‘The Signalman’ and ‘The Foghorn’

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English Wide Reading Essay The Comparisons between 'The Signalman' and 'The Foghorn' begin before you even start to read the actual stories. 'The Signalman' taken from Charles Dickens' 'Mugby Junction' was written 1866 whereas 'The Foghorn' was written almost a century later. Charles Dickens is also a person whose name is known throughout the English speaking world, unlike Ray Bradbury an American 20th century writer who is not so well known. 'The Signalman' is set around the same time it was written, in the Great Railway Era, 'The Foghorn' though is not set in any specific time in history. Both of these stories are set in what would be classified as isolated locations, 'Out there in the cold water, far from land', already in the first sentence of 'The Foghorn' there is an indication of the loneliness of the lighthouse and also, 'there wasn't a town for a hundred miles down the coast', which reinforces the loneliness of the situation. In 'The Signalman', 'the steep cutting', evokes a sheltered place away from the view of passers-by because of the steepness of the cutting. ...read more.


set 'far from land' and 'The Signalman' is set in a 'deep trench' both are extremely different, but yet have the same effect upon the reader. The lighthouse is far out from land and susceptible to all the elements whereas the signal box is very enclosed and sheltered. Season is also a contrast between the two texts; Dickens gives very few seasonal details and concentrates more on the weather, to help build the setting for example, 'an angry sunset' Whereas Bradbury uses the season winter, to create the atmosphere. Nature also plays a key part in both stories in helping establish the mood. Another similarity is the time of day that both stories are set, both Dickens and Bradbury have chosen night as it adds mystery and contributes to the eerie atmosphere. Both writers have used similar language devices but in certain ways to create different effects. Dickens uses personification to help the reader envisage the setting, 'an angry sunset' Whereas Bradbury uses it to help the reader create a picture of the lighthouse 'The great eye of the light' Alliteration is used throughout 'The Foghorn' in different contexts, ...read more.


'from the surface of the cold sea came a head, a large head, dark-coloured, with immense eyes' without this sort of description the reader would not get a very clear picture of the mythical creature and such a mysterious atmosphere would not have been created, or if adjectives had not been used in 'The Signalman' for example, His post was in as solitary and dismal a place as ever I saw.' The reader would not have known what a desolate and depressing place the signalman worked in. I think that both writers have portrayed the setting effectively and have sustained it throughout the stories, I find 'The Foghorn' a lot easier to read and study because of the use of modern language as opposed to 'The Signalman' because the use of archaic language for example 'he had to stand without the door', 'up yonder' and 'Halloa! Below there!' , these words which I have never heard or do not use in the same context as Dickens mean that the story is harder to understand. I thought that both stories were good and kept the readers interest well with the build up of tension throughout both, along with serving their purpose to entertain. ...read more.

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