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Compare and Contrast the ways in which Charles Dickens and Ray Bradbury create Tension and Suspense in "The Signalman" and "The Crowd".

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Introduction

20. March. 2002 Compare and Contrast the ways in which Charles Dickens and Ray Bradbury create Tension and Suspense in "The Signalman" and "The Crowd" Both "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens and "The Crowd" by Ray Bradbury create a brilliant feeling of tension and suspense. Each story is worked around events that seem inexplicable. The protagonist characters and the reader becomes unsettled as these events unfold. Each story contains accidents, death, the supernatural, and an underlying sense of an unresolved mystery. Charles Dickens, writing in the nineteenth century, uses fear of modernization, mechanization and the belief in ghosts to his advantage, appealing to the fear of the unknown and the future. With the Industrial Revolution, and its new developments in science and technology, Dickens introduces the fascination with supernatural phenomenon. Ray Bradbury, writing in the middle of the twentieth century, uses a different pace, and a change in lifestyle to incite fear rather than addressing his own personal views through literature as Dickens does. However the impact of cars and television are aspects of modernization and are used to extend the sense of fear about the misunderstood. Making a later impact, the Cold War and its general political climate of suspense involving different countries and different leaders can easily be compared to the confusion and tension of this short story. ...read more.

Middle

For example "dripping wet" and "jagged stone" are used. The daunting ness of an object in question is also used, such as "great dungeon". Colour and smell are used too along with abstract adjectives to create an ideas of the setting as lonely and not nice, "a gloomy, red light" and "deathly smell" with deathly being an abstract adjective. In "The Crowd", at first setting is used to compare the normally of the surrounding area with the traumatic and rapid event of a car crash. The setting is as having "summer grass" and "lined pavement" it all seem quick peaceful and pleasant. A bit later on in the story, extra detail is given in describing the faces of the members of the crowd as the protagonist character clearly remembers them well. They are described with a "vast wrongness" definitely adding a sense of wonder and fear to the story. In both of these short stories there are senses of fear and suspense, which were cleverly written in the stories by Dickens and Bradbury. In "The Signalman" these sources of fear and suspense are raised by the loneliness and coldness of the two main characters, the narrator and the signalman. Where they don't fully know or really understand one another they are slightly fearful of each other, especially the signalman towards the narrator, however we, the readers, don't know why at this point in the story. ...read more.

Conclusion

This climax led us to wonder about the crowd's true nature, but is resolved in mystery as was a great interest at the time the story was written. These two stories are full of irony. In "The Signalman" the very first line, said by the narrator, "Halloa! Below there!" is the warning given to the signalman by the driver wanted to move, however the signalman, entranced by the supernatural force fails to move and is killed. The story tells us how the signalman was a well-educated man who was good as his job and very careful to stay away from line but gets killed on the line. This is also very ironic and misleading. However the largest irony of this story is that the signalman saw a premonition of his own death on the line. In "The Crowd" the irony is that the very thing Mr. Spallner wanted to find found him. In both of these stories the characters see ghosts but die before they can prove their ideas causing a lot of fear to readers. However neither character really considers why they are seeing these ghosts and this leads to their deaths. These stories are both very similar, playing on our fears of the supernatural and the misunderstood. Both talk of issues that plagued the time and culture in which they were written. Times of great change. Dickens in the Victorian fear of the modern and Bradbury in the twentieth century fascination with mystery. By George Rose, L5G 1 ...read more.

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