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

Both the Signalman 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 story ends.

Extracts from this document...


Both the Signalman 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 story ends. Your mind is a dark place, full of fear. We are often scared to release this fear, although many people read or watch horror to do so. Many writers use subtle suggestion to develop ideas and fears within our heads. Horror stories are always set in an ordinary or extraordinary setting. They do this for the following reasons; an ordinary setting, such as that used in the darkness out there is used to deceive the reader into a false sense of security, but also, I believe, to make us think irrational thoughts. We wouldn't automatically judge Kerry, but he appears suspicious in such an ordinary environment. This couples with Sandra's judging commentary to automatically prejudice us. When an ordinary setting is used the author then uses apparently subtle hints to increase the suspense. An extraordinary, such as the cutting in the signalman is used to put the reader immediately on edge. Hints in the descriptions of such places give the reader a feeling of the atmosphere. In the Signalman Dickens used the fears of the Victorian age to instil fear into the reader of the time. Steam Trains were very new and were labelled machines of hell. This ties in very closely Dickens's theme for the cutting in which the story is set. ...read more.


whether he did or whether it is part of his active imagination is irrelevant, every time that the ghost appeared, through supernatural means or not, an accident occurred. Because the signalman is sure he saw the ghost, and is sure in the relation between the ghost and the accidents, Dickens convinces the reader to believe this extremely reliable man, thus building tension, the reader now knows, or at least believes, that another accident is coming. Penelope Lively approaches the building of tension in a completely different way. She firsts deceives us with the description of Mrs Rutter, although she does tell us she is not as lovely as she seems. You can also see her checking Kerry out, "above her eyes examined him". We already start to see that Mrs Rutter is far more clever and perceptive than she seems, she sees that by complementing Sandra she can get her to do what she wants, ""Like bees round a honey pot, they'll be" The girl blushed". We can see that Mrs Rutter's compliment "hit the spot" because Sandra then admires her young body. Mrs Rutter also understands that she cannot do this to Kerry, so she puts him in the garden. As the references to the Second World War begin, the story begins to unfold itself, when we discover that Mrs Rutter's husband was killed in the war. Sandra is troubled by this news, she lives in a perfect world, where nothing like death occurs, this is why she is so genuinely scared. ...read more.


The fire sighs and heaves as a sign of the tension building in the room; Kerry shows his signs of disbelief by giving Mrs Rutter a second chance, however, she continues to her story of leaving the pilot. The pilot is not old as he is muttering about him mother, but Mrs Rutter has a "sympathy" with young people. The story of the pilot is irrelevant to the story, lively is really interested in the way characters react, and how they feel at the end of the story. This is known as enjambment. Kerry feels disgusted but deep down he always knew there was something wrong, it is on Sandra that the events have the biggest effect she realises, as does the reader that the darkness isn't out there its inside everyone, and everyone is evil, and the world isn't simple and easy, it wasn't the darkness of shadow and nightmare, but the shadow in ones head. Both lively and dickens use tension to make a story more interesting, they do so by subtle suggestion and description. Dickens plays on the fears and interests of the Victorian age; this is why the signalman may seem a bit unrealistic to me. I dint enjoy it because it leaves many questions unanswered to the reader. The Darkness out There is far more modern; it is a psychological thriller and plays on the fears of the modern age. Lively uses manipulation of Sandra, and thus the reader, to build tension, I enjoyed the darkness out there due to its summary which explains all the questions I needed answered. ...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. How does Dickens's retain the interest of the reader in "A Madman's Manuscript"?

    There is a twist in the tale at the end when the Madman was not in control until the resolution when it happens. In the story there are only a few characters that fit into the short story genre. The description used to describe these characters is short but detailed, "...three proud over bearing brothers."

  2. 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.

  1. Discuss the effectiveness of the ghost stories by Dickens, Hughes and Rhys. Show some ...

    He is also 'anxious.' He seems almost paranoid or worried. Is he having the experience at that time? This is when he checks the danger-light when the bell has NOT rang. Not emphasised by all capitals, the narrator is definitely sure of this and Dickens wants the reader to be sure of it to.

  2. A good ghost story must contain suspense and tension - discuss

    ask yourself two things; why did it appear in the first place? And why did it disappear when the Signalman tried to touch it. There is also more tension created as after the spectre appears, six hours later there is an accident.

  1. Compare how suspense is built up in 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens (1812-1879), and ...

    This adds suspense to the story, as the signalman would have looked evil and insane when looking like this. He carries on with the incident and elucidates that this time the figure was silent and literally lifeless. He goes on, saying that it only "had its two hands covering his

  2. Both 'The Signalman' and 'The Darkness out There' have unexpected endings. Compare the way ...

    Before each of these events happened he sees a spectre who waves to him and says 'Halloe! Below there!' he also hears a ghostly warning bell from inside his hut and sees a imaginary red light outside the tunnel that means danger.

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

    Both characters in "The Signalman" are very typical of a ghost story, the narrator is sympathetic (towards the signalman) but a rational, sceptical character who does not believe all these stories of apparitions that the signalman describes and provides a rational, scientific explanation for the strange goings-on the narrator describes:-

  2. How tension is built up in both 'the Darkness Out There' and 'The Signalman'

    The signal man spent his days just sitting in his control tower, until a man stood at the top of the ridge and hailed 'Hello? Below there!'. The signalman stood stunned, whilst the man found his way down the side of the cutting to the bottom where the rail track ran.

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