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By looking at The Signal-Man by Charles Dickens and The Man with the Twisted Lip by Arthur Conan Doyle, compare and contrast the ways in which the authors use language to create suspense. In your answer you should consider: The u

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Introduction

By looking at 'The Signal-Man' by Charles Dickens and 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' by Arthur Conan Doyle, compare and contrast the ways in which the authors use language to create suspense. In your answer you should consider: * The use of setting * Presentation of characters * Contextual information * Anything else you think is relevant Suspense can incorporate tension, anticipation, fear and also anxiety. Charles Dickens wrote 'The Signal-Man' when the stream engine was a piece of cutting-edge technology and he himself was involved in two train accidents, during one of which he was in the only carriage to survive. People shared a common fear for trains due to the high number of fatalities caused by railway accidents and even the title 'The Signal-Man' would have conjured up images of an isolated and alien working environment, making his contemporary readers feel unease. Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' boasts a title which would sound sinister at any time as it hints at an abnormal unnamed 'man'. It was written at a time when London was filled with crime, squalor and disease. ...read more.

Middle

Dickens uses negative adjectives such as, such as '...a dark sallow man, with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows' and 'saturnine face' to describe the signal-man. These descriptions all demonstrate dark and rather monstrous imagery with connotations of someone from a mysterious underworld and make the signal-man seem forbidding. His lack of words at the beginning shows that he keeping something to himself. This makes us puzzled and somewhat weary as we struggle to define what he is hiding. However once we find out his secret and sense his suffering and helplessness in '...this is a cruel haunting of me. What can I do?', we immediately empathize with him and his also keeps us enticed to find out what he'll do next. In 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' Hugh Boone is described as having '...shock of orange hair, a pale face disfigured by a horrible scar...turned up the outer edge of his upper lip...penetrating dark eyes,". These gruesome words make him seem ghastly and evoke fear from the reader. Doyle also juxtaposes Sherlock Holmes with '...bodies lying in strange fantastic poses...' ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens repeated uses the 'red light' which we associate with danger and highlights the signal-man's hazardous working condition. The writers also use the colour black which is often linked with death to create a threatening feel. In 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' Doyle uses '...a black gap...' and in 'The Signal-Man' there is 'the black tunnel'. Both indicate some intangible danger hidden away in the shadows and create an eerie atmosphere. Plenty of aural imagery are used in the stories to keep us absorbed - onomatopoeias and personifications such as '...oozier and wetter' and 'the rattle of wheels and the clink of horses' hoofs' all help us to picture our surroundings. Sensory imagery is also employed in places such as 'The wind and the wires took up the story with a long lamenting wail' to give us a complete feel of the setting and has a disturbing effect. Throughout these stories the authors build suspense by encouraging our curiosity and fascination. However in 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' there is a perfect resolution and we are left satisfied with a solid conclusion, whilst 'The Signal-Man' never loses its mysterious atmosphere and we as readers are left with many questions which probably only Dickens himself know the answers to. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chuer Zhang ...read more.

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