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Compare the different techniques used by Charles Dickens in 'The Signalman' and Thomas Hardys in 'The Withered Arm'

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Introduction

Compare the different techniques used by Charles Dickens in 'The Signalman' and Thomas Hardys in 'The Withered Arm' In Charles Dickens 'The Signalman' and Thomas Hardys 'The Withered Arm' the authors apply many different techniques to create the mood/atmosphere they are trying to put across. 'The Signalman' and 'The Withered Arm' both have a sense of the supernatural but the way it is shown is very distinctive. In the opening of 'The Signalman' Charles Dickens uses the five senses many times. The first line of the story is the narrator shouting 'halloa! Below there!' This is quite an unusual opening to the story because it goes straight into the story with a sense instead of starting with a brief introduction of the characters or the setting of the story. Sound is used quite a bit as well. There is alliteration used along with the descriptions of the sense of touch. An example of this is 'vague vibration'. ...read more.

Middle

There is not much sun entering the spot and it is very windy. There are two main characters in the story. These are the narrator and the signalman. The first impression the narrator has of the signalman is that 'he is a dark, sallow man, with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows'. It also says that he used to study philosophy. The signalman is a poor hand at figures. He has learnt a new language down there, alone in the lonesome spot. The signalman is described a lot throughout the story. He is described as having 'fixed eyes', 'a saturnine face', 'hungry', 'exact', 'vigilant', 'safe', 'cautious', 'watchful', 'frightened' and 'intelligent'. These are just some of the descriptions of the signalman. This adds to the way the story develops as it goes on because we are constantly learning new things about the signalman, which makes the story seem more exciting. It also adds to the air of mystery because we might be thinking one thing about the signalman and then we learn something new about him to make us change our mind. ...read more.

Conclusion

The signalman hears the bell twice but the narrator says that it doesn't ring. This adds to the suspense in the story because you do not know if it really rings or not. This makes you want to read on to find out what happened. Their first meeting also builds up the suspense in the story. We are told a little about the signalman's past and we get some hints about what has happened in his past life. It is not until the narrator's return journey that we find out about why the signalman is so troubled. In conclusion, I have found that the two books, 'The Signalman' and 'The Withered Arm' are very similar. They are both books of the same genre and include the same type of feelings, e.g. loneliness. The way in which the loneliness has been inserted in to the story is also very similar. By this I mean like how the main characters, the signalman and Rhoda, are the lonely ones. On the other hand, they are lonely for different reasons. Rhoda chooses to be lonely whereas the signalman is lonely as a result of his job. ...read more.

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