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

Discuss how suspense is created in the short ghost story, 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss how suspense is created in the short ghost story, 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens. In class we have studied the short story 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens, in the following essay I am going to write about how Dickens created a feeling of suspense in the ghost story. It was written for the Victorians who were just as fascinated about the paranormal as we are today. Just as well that the main theme running throughout the story is the paranormal and also trains. Trains were chosen because the nineteenth century was the great age of the railways; there was an aura a mystique and also a lot of glamour surrounding the train and the immense power it possessed as it hurled across the land like a bolt of lightning. The paranormal was put in because it is such a mysterious topic that people know so little about now and in the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century was a time when a large number of scientific breakthroughs were being made, helping people who knew very little to understand some of the things that go on around them. The story begins with the stranger (who is also the narrator of the story, we do not find out his name) ...read more.

Middle

Dickens manages to confuse people very easily; the way the stranger thinks that the Signalman is a spirit because he hasn't said a word to him, the narrator later thinks that the Signalman had an infection in his mind. 'The monstrous thought came into my mind as I perused the fixed eyes and the saturnine face, that this was a spirit not a man. I have later speculated since, whether they may have been infection in his mind.' The Signalman thinks that the stranger is a ghost, the way the Signalman for some unknown reason is scared of the stranger perhaps fearing that he is ghost. 'You look at me,' I said, forcing a smile, 'as if you had dread of me.' When the stranger calls the Signalman, the Signalman turns to face the warning light as if something were to happen, even though it is quite obvious from where the narrator is shouting. When the Signalman looked up he saw the strangers figure standing above him, when the stranger asked for a way down the Signalman pointed the way down without making a sound. The fact that the Signalman hasn't spoken gives an air of mystery. There seems to be some sort of tension between the two men, perhaps because of the lack of speech from the Signalman. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the opening the Signalman doesn't speak he seems to be very nervous and scared perhaps scared of the stranger or maybe something else. Little is known about the Signalman, but I feel that he has had troubled periods of time during his lifespan. He seems to be over-educated for his job yet he seems dedicated to his job. The stranger who tells the story is an unusual character we know very little about him and know very little about his past yet he is telling a story that could be quite significant to him. He seems to care for the Signalman as if they were good friends yet they had only recently met; he wants to help the signalman with his problems maybe because the stranger has failed trying to sort out his own problems. He seems to be a well educated man and perhaps upper or middle class but he seems to be a good king hearted man. After reading through the essay and studying it we can therefore see that Dickens created suspense in most parts of the story, the fact that no one could tell if either of the two men were ghosts or what was going to happen next. I enjoyed this story I don't usually read short stories but I may have to reconsider as I enjoyed 'The Signalman' very much. Daniel Stokes English Coursework 11a1 ...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. A good ghost story must contain suspense and tension - discuss

    to make his setting very negative. This reflects both authors' backgrounds, as Dickens background was poor whereas Wilde's was rich and flamboyant. The settings in both stories are scary as in 'the Signalman' it is not a typical ghost setting; there is no old house so it creates suspense as

  2. Discuss how suspense is created in the ghost story "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens

    Dickens describes it as: "Vague vibration in the earth and the air, quickly changing into a violent pulsation and a oncoming rush.... Vapour as to rose to my height this rapid train had passed me" This phrase reflects the fear of the steam trains during the Industrial Revolution era.

  1. In this essay, I will define how, I think, Dickens creates tension and suspense ...

    He had his left hand at his chin, and that left elbow rested on his right hand crossed over his breast. His attitude was one of such expectation and watchfulness, that I stopped a moment, wondering at it." The use of 'appear' at the end of the first sentence was

  2. "The short story is the ideal form for writers who want to create a ...

    The setting of "The Moonlit Road" however is based on two physical settings of in the house where the murder took place and the moonlit road itself where 'moon' gives a feeling of a gothic story.

  1. Comparative Essay between "The Signalman" and "The Pit and the Pendulum"

    The reader is again affected, and hopefully sympathetic, when it is clear that the Signalman is suffering mental torture: "in a extremity of feverish distress" and "A mere poor Signalman on this solitary station!" It is obvious that the Signalman is upset as he was getting extremely agitated, and asking so many questions, like "why not warn me plainly now?"

  2. How Charles Dickens Creates Tension In His Short Story 'The Signalman'.

    the Stranger was reluctant to repeat his question when it was not answered, perhaps because of a fear of upsetting the Signalman because he seems so tense. In the fourth paragraph there is more description of the surroundings, for example, 'the cutting was extremely deep and unusually precipitous....

  1. Examining how tension and suspense are created in two short stories - The Signalman ...

    "Down in the deep trench". Even the sunset hints at tragedy. "Glow of an angry sunset". Dickens use of vocabulary creates a sense of menace or violence. Dickens describes the place with many menacing phrases. "Great dungeon". "Barbarous, depressing and forbidding air".

  2. Prose English

    The figure is sub-human. It has its hand over it's ''...heart...'' suggesting a loss of innocence or loss of emotions, it is part of the title to the novel - Lost hearts. When Stephen is startled by his discovery he is ''...forced backwards...'', in to the ''...moonlight...''.

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