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Compare the two short stories, ‘The Signalman’ by Charles Dickens and ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ by Roald Dahl.

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Introduction

Compare the two short stories, 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' by Roald Dahl. At the beginning of both stories there is a normal sort of mood for instance in Lamb to the Slaughter, Mary is sitting down sowing waiting for her husband and in The Signalman the railway worker is going about his usual day. Some phrases that made me think that it was a normal mood from Lamb to the Slaughter were 'Hullo, Darling', 'Tired, darling' and 'Darling, shall I get your slippers'. There is a neutral sort of effect on the reader upon the opening of the book. Lamb to the Slaughter is set in the past at Mary and Patrick Maloneys house and The Signalman is set in and around a deep railway cutting during the 19th century. There aren't really any similarities between the two stories apart from the fact they are both set in the past. The theme of Lamb to the Slaughter is a murder-revenge theme were a wife gets revenge on her husband by killing him. ...read more.

Middle

He also appeared to be good at his job and seemed to enjoy it. Mary from Lamb to the Slaughter and the signalman from The Signalman seem to be alike in the way that they are both dedicated to what they do, which, in Mary's case is making sure that Patrick is fed and happy, in the signalman in the way that he makes sure that the trains run OK they both appear to have a sense of commitment. In the signalman I think that the ghost is unrealistic as I don't believe in ghosts and I don't think that it would ever happen. The style of language from both authors is typical from their previous work and the era that they were written in. In the signalman there is not a lot of direct speech or description where as in Lamb to the Slaughter there is quite a bit more description and direct speech. 'Two tall glasses, soda water, whiskey, fresh ice cubes in the blue thermos bucket.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The actual method of the murders are different as Patrick from Lamb to the Slaughter was struck around the head with a leg of lamb by Mary, but in The Signalman a bride was thrown out of a moving train onto the railway track near the signalman and died. Both Lamb to the Slaughter and The Signalman have a twist at the end of the story in Lamb to the Slaughter the is that when the police come to take there colleagues body away they end up eating the leg of lamb that Mary had used to hit Patrick with. This meant that there was no evidence left to link Mary with the murder. I expected Mary to start to cry and own up to the whole incident but instead nearly the opposite had happened. I think that rather the unexpected happening instead of the expected it made the story interesting. My favourite story out of the two has to be Lamb to the Slaughter as it was more interesting them The Signalman. I think this is because Lamb to the Slaughter has a funny side. By Darren Beckinsale 11R ...read more.

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