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

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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. In this essay I am going to examine the techniques used by Charles Dickesn ...

    After that 'an oncoming rush' and 'vapour' rising sounds as though it's an earth-shaking monster, and the vapour is like smoke from a mouth. They are all violent hints that there is a hostile creature but really it's the effect of a train.

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

    The line: "a dripping wet wall of jagged stone excluding all view but a strip of sky" is used to make the Signalman appear as if he is again imprisoned by his job. It describes the setting in a dull and degrading way.

  1. Compare the two short stories, "The Signalman" by Dickens and "The Withered Arm" by ...

    This atmosphere is not mystifying like in "The Signalman." However, Rhoda being the one "who had not spoken" and whose "course lay apart from that of the others, to a lonely spot" and who is stared upon as being involved in witchcraft has a great impact on the mood.

  2. A Comparison between 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The Withered Arm' by Thomas ...

    This gives the effect that the story is being told from the author's point of view but gives you different opinions. 'The Withered Arm' took place over a number of years whereas 'The Signalman' took place over only a few days.

  1. Compare how suspense is built up in 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens (1812-1879), and ...

    When the narrator says that he does not like the red light and that he would not like to sleep beneath it, he is trying to explain that the red light to him is a sense of danger and that to live around it all the time like the signalman does would be very weary.

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

    Another mystery revealed is why, when the visitor quite clearly shouts '"Below!"', the signalman looks down the Line. During the second visit, he explains to the visitor that he thought him to be 'someone else' and was troubled by this.

  1. Compare the two short stories, 'The Signalman' by Dickens and 'The Withered Arm by ...

    This gives us an impression that it is isolated and solitary. The powerful damp smell indicates the smell of corpses. The description suggests that the area is cut off from the natural world. Furthermore, Dickens uses treacherous and hostile images such as "dripping wet wall of jagged stone, excluding all but a strip of sky."

  2. Compare and Contrast "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens and "The Withered Arm" by Thomas ...

    An important and effective technique used by Dickens is the way in which the story is related to the reader. Initially we are introduced to everything and the scene is set through the narrator, of whom we never know the actual identity.

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