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

Charles Dickins the signal man

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Literature coursework Mieke Gadd How does Charles Dickens use the ghost story genre to provoke fear in both the Victorian and modern reader of "the Signalman"? "The Signalman" is a short ghost story written by Charles Dickens and published in 1866. The story is about a signalman that works at a railway station. It explores many areas of fear including: the paranormal, the unknown, and darkness. I enjoyed the stories un-nerving and alluring structure. I feel this added to the tension and fear of the story. In a typical sense a ghost story is a novel that is based around the afterlife and paranormal, but through time the word ghost has been replaced with the word scary. They began with stereotypical chilling atmospheres and bloodcurdling settings such as graveyards and old houses, but what Dickens achieved is making a known scene, a railway station, scary and unknown. Ghost stories for Victorians were good as they could explore subjects that the Victorians were not too educated in, or maybe subjects that were being tested by society. For example, ghost stories tested the afterlife theory, and in turn tested the bible. Darwin was testing the Bible with his theory of evolution and consequently people began to question all aspects of religion. Ghost stories let people come up with their own views and thoughts on life not just living the life that generations before them had. They were also an alternate and fresh version of entertainment. The beginning of "The Signalman" is an unconventional but effective one. ...read more.

Middle

This narrator isn't very conventional as it isn't common for a ghost story to have a narrator, normally they are written fully in the third person, all description and written through a lense but by having a narrator it almost makes the reader part of the novel. This provokes fear by instead of having the reader look at a chilling moment they are in a chilling moment. The other character is the signalman, the leading role and title of the book. The signalman is an unclear character at first, the fidgety and slightly insane vibe that he gives of creates an instant fear, and uneasy sense in the reader. The beginning of the story he doesn't respond to the narrator's speech, making him slight perturbed. ""Halloa! Below there!" When he heard a voice thus calling to him, he was standing at the door of his box, with a flag in his hand, furled round its short pole. One would have thought, considering the nature of the ground, that he could not have doubted from what quarter the voice came; but instead of looking up to where I stood on the top of the steep cutting nearly over his head, he turned himself about, and looked down the Line... "Halloa! Below!"...He looked up at me without replying." Here you can see that he 'narrator calls twice after the signalman doesn't respond but simply just looks around. From then on the reader has a question mark over that character but when it is revealed that the signalman has been seeing things he can't explain and that he is scared ...read more.

Conclusion

Many Victorians also felt this way and The Signalman add to that unsure knowledge of death making many Victorians think, and therefore remember the story and remember Dickens. As for the modern reader the story doesn't have the same question mark hanging over it as we are much more clued up on many different theories but it can be used as evidence or a source as maybe Dickens writing the signalman saw his own death means that you life does flash before your eyes before you die, or that Cod had a vision of his train crashing. It can never be said but I feel any reader of any age or any era is going to question death after this story. I feel that this interesting and chilling novel is a fantastic contribution to the ghost story genre as it doesn't quite fit the mould but somehow is still exceptionally unsettling and haunting. The untypical structure makes the original plot even more exiting and the twisted finish polishes the stories unnerving scheme perfectly. The not so evolved Victorians would have pondered about this story for a long time and I feel the most fear provoking part of this story is the fact that there are many different ways of perceiving it making the reader question itself, and this conversation staring novel gets the reader finding out how they really feel about death, making it almost educational. All in all I feel Dickens achieved what he set out to do with this novel and it shall defiantly bag itself a place on my bookcase. ...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 Dickins create's mystery and suspense in 'The SignalMan' ?

    The story begins with the words 'Halloa below there' here we dont understand why the man is calling he has no reason to speak to the Signalman so this also creates mystery because we dont understand what the man is doing.

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

    victim similar to the character "Jack" from Steven King's "The Shining" who is also an intelligent character who is plagued by ghosts and eventually becomes very distressed

  1. Short, entertaining stories were extremely popular within the Victorian era, and a number of ...

    deliver his moral to his readers quite blatantly, in comparison to Dickens' moral which is quite subtle. Collins rewards Bessie's 'wit' with her 'husband', and he briefly sums up the occurrences following the 'horror-struck' night, which if they were written in detail would bore the readers.

  2. Examine the ways in which Charles Dickens builds suspense in 'The Signalman'

    It was also 'oozier and wetter', the further he goes down. This suggests that the sun can't reach down into the valley often, so it is probably forever muddy, and a place that not many people visit. It has 'dripping-wet' walls and only a 'strip of sky' is visible, giving the whole place a forbidding and abandoned look about it.

  1. Examine the settings which the writers have chosen for their stories in 'the signal ...

    The Red Room has a gothic, fictitious and literary context. The setting is one common in many gothic stories and this is why the author invented this setting - so he could incorporate all the aspects of Gothic stories, for example, Loraine Castle, grotesque characters, haunted rooms, ghosts, witches, superstition, previous deaths and curses.

  2. Explain what makes a good mystery story, based on your understanding of 'The Red ...

    about something happening and possibly his mind was playing tricks on him. He then says that: 'A black shadow sprung back to its place' This is personification that adds effect to the action of the candle. This could have easily been mistaken for a movement that he did, because the shadow could have moved when he moved with the candle.

  1. How Does Charles Dickens Use The Ghost Story Genre To Provoke Fear In Both ...

    This figure was also described as being in a 'trench'. The second paragraph also starts in dialogue, "Helloa! Below!" The Narrator is repeating his question because he didn't receive a reply to the last. The signalman turns himself about and sees the Narrator high above him.

  2. The Signal Man

    at his post, and the story suggests that loneliness equals to madness, so the signal man could be quite loopy after spending many hours on his own, with no one to talk to or spend time with. In brighter weather the signal man does choose occasions for getting a little

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