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Both The Signalman and The Darkness Out There have unexpected endings. Compare the way 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 Signalman and The Darkness Out There have unexpected endings. Compare the way tension is built up in both stories so that the reader is surprised by how the stories end. Both The Darkness Out There and The Signalman have unexpected endings. The two stories have completely different ways of achieving the same effect of surprising the reader. They both build up suspense and show tension using different methods. Although these methods are different the stories have some similarities, the main one being that the both involve horrific deaths and tragedies. The stories were written in different era for audiences with different ideas about what was seen as 'scary' or interesting. The darkness out there is written in the late twentieth century after the world war. The author, Penelope Lively, uses a psychological approach to see how people's behaviour is affected by their past. She also expresses her own views in the story to put her point across. On the other hand, The signalman is written in the late nineteenth century. The writer, Charles Dickens in this case uses the audience's interest in ghosts and the supernatural and 'gothic' themes as the base for his story. ((((( The Darkness Out There by Penelope Lively was written in the late twentieth century. The story begins with a detailed description of one of the characters, Sandra, walking along a track at the edge of a field. ...read more.

Middle

Nothing would lead you to expect what actually happens. We find out that 'nice old Mrs. Rutter' leaves an injured German pilot for dead, for not one but two nights, this is very unexpected because she is seen as harmless and extremely caring/friendly. Kerry and Sandra are also fooled by her sweet and soft exterior, as the reader is meant to be. The pilot had horrific injuries and was lucky to have survived the initial impact but Mrs. Rutter had lost her husband in the war, and she obviously saw this as a chance for vengeance. The things like the fact that she cheered as the plane went down and that dot said 'Bang go some more of the bastards' instantly change our views of Mrs. Rutter, she is now seen as evil, full of hatred, and even dangerous. This story shows that you should never base your opinions on first impressions because things can change pretty quickly. ((((( The Signalman by Charles Dickens was written much earlier than The Darkness Out There The story is extremely descriptive right from the start the cutting in which the story is set is described in great detail which set the atmosphere very well. The cutting is described as 'extremely deep, and unusually precipitous' the use of the more descriptive words is excellent because it allows us to visualise the scene where the story takes place in greater detail. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both Mrs. Rutter and the Signalman change as the stories go on, and the characters become the opposite of what they were first seen as. By changing a character's personality so much the reader is left to wonder how they were originally sucked into believing the first images of them. I think that the two characters build up tension by changing so much. But the two places where they are set, Packer's End and The Cutting are described so vividly that we get the feeling of something bad happening form both and I thought that this was the most useful factor in building up tension and suspense. I preferred the signalman because I thought the description of the cutting was extremely good, and helped to set an already spooky atmosphere, which was added to by the goings on in the story. The darkness out There had Packers End, which yes was described well and added suspense but because they didn't actually go into the area, they just talked about it, so it wasn't as scary as it could have been. I also thought that the Signalman was more interesting because it was easier to visualise due to more extensive descriptions. Both stories built up suspense and tension right through them by using a combination of character traits and atmospheric descriptions. Both were used to great effect by each writer and each was successful in having a tense, surprising, gripping ending. Andrew Carter 11JH ...read more.

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