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Compare the Way Tension is Built Up in Both Stories So that How the Stories End surprises the Reader

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Introduction

Compare the Way Tension is Built Up in Both Stories So that How the Stories End surprises the Reader 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The Darkness Out There' by Penelope Lively are set in totally different times. 'The Signalman' was written in the 1860s for a Victorian audience fascinated with ghost and supernatural stories. The story was written for print in a magazine and a sense of drama and immediacy was needed because it was popular at the time to read stories aloud to friends and family. The Darkness Out There has a far more modern writing style to it; it was written in the 1980s and published in a collection of short stories by the same writer. Lively used a physiological approach when she wrote the story. She investigates how people react in different situations, in the case of Kerry and Sandra, when they are shocked and in Mrs Rutter's case, when she is angry and grieving. 'The Signalman' is set in a railway cutting, this would have been interesting to the Victorian audience because the railway network was a new and exciting method of transport at the time 'The Signalman' was written. ...read more.

Middle

This is confusing, because we do not know whether the Signalman is actually or the writer is having some sort of effect over him. We can see the reasoning in the Signalman's story - there are some interesting elements to it. The spectre seems to always appear in exactly the same place (underneath the danger light -perhaps suggesting it has something to do with danger.), always says "Halloa! Below there!" and covers it's eyes and waves. This makes us suspicious, it always has the same warning, yet different events have occurred, no connection can be made between the actions of the spectre and the accidents and still, it continues. The first thing that hits you when you read 'The Darkness Out There' is the title. The Darkness' is ambiguous and we do not know what 'Out There' means. We do not know whether it means out there in the big wide world or if the story is set inside a building and the darkness is outside of it. We are aware, from very early on in the story that Sandra has had a very sheltered life; we are informed that her mother regularly compliments her and that these complements are always running through her mind. ...read more.

Conclusion

Packer's Wood in 'The Darkness Out There', also, both of these settings are seen at night, which makes the reader suspicious of supernatural occurrences. Dickens and Lively both developed methods of dropping hints and clues, both leading to a build-up of tension. Comparisons between the authors' characterisation skills can be pinpointed, both of the stories have characters that have positions of responsibility and both contain one character look for the truth and what to do in awkward, pressing situations. I think that both stories build up tension in ways, though different, successful. 'The Darkness Out There' emulates the hate of English people to the Germans, whether they had personally done anything to them or not. It also looks at why we lash out when in pain. Mrs Rutter was grieving the loss of her husband, and the fact she would never have children. She took this pain out on the aircraft pilot yet, years later does not regret it at all. I think that 'The Signalman' has morals in it. You must not judge people by appearances and I think that it also makes people think that they should expect the unexpected, they do not know what is going to happen in their lives, just prepare for anything. ...read more.

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