• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A good ghost story must contain suspense and tension - discuss

Extracts from this document...


Mustafa Rafik A good ghost story must contain suspense and tension; discuss In my opinion a good ghost story should be able to scare the audience. It should also contain various features to make it a ghost story, such as: old deserted houses which no one has been in for years, old cobwebs and witches. It should also create such an atmosphere that it frightens you and makes you jump. In 'The Signalman' the ingredients of a good ghost story are achieved as well as not achieved as it is set in a dark deserted place but not in old castle or mansion. It is set on a railway line with a small box where the Signalman lives. This setting is scary but not ghostly. In contrast 'The Canterville Ghost' fits the ingredients well as it has an old mansion, which creates a scary setting. There is also an old maid and an old ghost like normal ghost stories. A good ghost story must contain both suspense and tension, as tension creates the scariness and suspense makes the reader want to read on, which are two very important aspects of a ghost story. This should be carried on throughout the whole story until the end if possible. Both stories achieve this particular aspect, which I have mentioned. ...read more.


In the signalman the ghost does not respond and when the signalman tries to touch or communicate with him he disappears. This adds to the mystery. Both ghosts keep coming back, which also create suspense. The Canterville ghost comes to free his soul but the signalman keeps coming back because he is giving a warning. The Canterville ghost can be freed by the prophecy in the kitchen and this also creates suspense in the readers mind. Will he be freed or not? "De Otis eroste, De Onlie Trne and Originale Spook. Beware of De Imittationes. All others are tonnterfeite." In the end the suspense is finally broken as the Canterville ghost is freed and there is no more suspense, this results in a happy ending where good beats evil and also part of the love story between Virginia and Duke of Cheshire ends positively, whereas in the signalman the mystery remains and you wonder whether this ghost could return, and you ask yourself that because the mystery isn't solved in this 'The Signalman one' will there be a 'The Signalman two'? Evil triumphs over good leaving an unsolved ending, which makes me, suggest of part two because in normal ghost stories good triumphs over evil, not the other way round so maybe in part two good will triumph over evil. ...read more.


In the Cantervelle ghost Wilde shows that English people are narrow minded whereas the Americans are broad minded, this was showing a feeling which he thought of the English as they wouldn't accept him being gay and they would send him to prison for being gay, on the other hand the Americans accepted him and loved his work. Both of these stories play some part of the writer's background, Wilde's background is included because he is very clever and rich like the Otis family, Dickens background is included because was very clever but did not take his opportunities as he let them slip because he was poor and he messed about although being intelligent and like the signalman. Initially I thought a good ghost story should contain ghosts and old settings, like the ghost stories of our generation, which have typically scary settings and no humans. However my final conclusion contradicts my first thoughts because I now think good ghost stories don't need old houses as the Signalman proves. The tension and suspense is more important than the settings to make a scary ghost story. However, this tension can be broken to make the story amusing, as in the Canterville ghost. I think both of these very different stories are good ghost stories. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Signalman section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Signalman essays

  1. Examine the ways in which Charles Dickens builds suspense in 'The Signalman'

    It amplifies the shocking and mysterious images going through readers' minds. There is also evidence of alliteration, for example, the phrase 'Long, lamenting'. Alliteration is used for variety and to emphasise the words. Other techniques, such as metaphors and personification also add variety and interest.

  2. Discuss how suspense is created in the ghost story "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens

    detailed description like the one before uses very interesting adjectives to create a picture of horror, rottenness and really a sinister setting for the reader which is typical of the story's genre. These descriptions make the narrator feel uncomfortable with the way the situation is going for him.

  1. In what ways is "The Signalman" a typical ghost story?

    is the only person who can hear the spirit ringing the bell. Funnily enough scrooge is also alone whenever he sees any ghosts, as is the character "Jack" in Steven King's "The Shining" and also in "The tell tale heart" the narrator is the only one who can hear the

  2. How does Dickens create an unnerving atmosphere of suspense and tension in "The Signalman"?

    "One of the safest of men to be employed." This strange, unwelcoming and unnatural behaviour creates a lot of suspense, as the reader is left wondering why he acts in such a strange way. However, when the suspense is broken, another problem is revealed, the actual problem which is disturbing the Signalman.

  1. The Ghost Story - The Old Nurse's Story, by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Axe, ...

    The Old Nurse's Story was more literally isolated. "We had left all signs of a house, or even a village..." It is the classic location for a ghost story - a place cut off from civilisation. In the journey to the manor Hester is leaving what she finds familiar and comforting.

  2. ‘The women in Black‘ and The Signalman

    After this Kiopps goes to his resting place, a deserted house by the name of Eel Marsh house. This adds greater isolation to the story, as around the house there is a marsh that meant that Kipps, at certain

  1. Question: What are the ingredients of a successful ghost story?

    For a good scary story, a lot of things will be described in detail, and they will use words which are connected to fear somehow. In these three stories, they use the description of the light and dark or colour to add tension and fear.

  2. The Signalman has an unsuspected ending. Explore the way in which the writer builds ...

    We know this because of the quote "instead of looking up to where I stood on the top of the steep cutting nearly over his head he turned himself about and looked down at the line". This makes the signalman's character eerie and mysterious early on in the story.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work