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Both 'The Signal man' and 'The darkness out there' have unexpected endings. Compare the way the tension is built up in both stories so that the reader is surprised by how the stories end.

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Introduction

BOTH THE 'SIGNAL MAN' AND 'THE DARKNESS OUT THERE' HAVE UNEXPECTED ENDINGS. COMPARE THE WAY THE TENSION IS BUILT UP IN BOTH STORIES SO THAT THE READER IS SURPRISED BY HOW THE STORIES END. Penelope Lively wrote the Darkness Out There. It is about two children who are in the good neighbours club. They are sent to go and help an old lady called Mrs Rutter. She lives in an isolated house in the countryside. The Signalman is about a man who goes to visit a signalman. The signalman tells this visitor that he is troubled. He is expecting a disaster and he has sightings of a ghost now and then. The Darkness Out There begins with a description of an idyllic countryside. "brushing through the grass, polleny summer grass that glinted in the sun." ...read more.

Middle

She didn't help the pilot because her husband had been killed in the war. She felt as if she had done nothing wrong. The children were absolutely shocked by her story. They couldn't believe a nice old lady like herself could have done a thing like this. In The Signalman the visitor want's to know more about the ghost sightings. The signalman tells him that he thinks the ghost's are warning him about a disaster on the line. He goes on to say that he has seen ghost's before and that there was a disaster after each sighting. He mentions about a crash on the line. There was also a death on a train. The signalman is haunted by the thought of another disaster. The ghost is warning him of something. ...read more.

Conclusion

This all creates tension aswell. The threat of disaster adds some tension. The Darkness Out There seems to be a nice, sort of fairy story with the idyllic countryside. But it then mentions a darker place called Packers End. The tension here is not obvious. It is hidden away a bit. The story progresses and the children start talking to Mrs Rutter. She then tells them a story. This changes everything around. She mentions the war, death and pain. This is completely different to how the story started. The children then realise that life is not as simple as they first thought. There is a hidden darkness. In these two stories the tension is built up differently. The Signalman is a ghost story so there is tension and confusion throughout the story. The Darkness Out There starts as any other nice story would. The tension is hidden behind this. I like the way the story does this. ...read more.

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