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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.

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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