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Discuss the Ways in Which Dickens and Collins Create an Air of Suspense and Mystery in These Stories.

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Introduction

Josh - Bryan 10DRH Discuss the Ways in Which Dickens and Collins Create an Air of Suspense and Mystery in These Stories. Both The Signalman and The Ostler are Victorian ghost stories, the signalman being written by Charles Dickens in 1866, and the ostler being written in 1855 by Wilkie Collins. Both these stories were relatively scary at the time of which they were wrote (The 19th Century.) Both writers create suspense in their stories by using a certain type of narrative, descriptive and organisational conventions such as in the beginning, they both have someone narrating it without the reader knowing who it is. The oster mentions murder, and the signalman has someone shouting, "Halloa! Below there!" Both of these examples create suspense. They are also set in the dark, and with hardly anyone around, this creating mystery, as mysterious things are more likely to happen in the dark. The main characters in the stories are haunted by ghosts and picked on as targets, making them interesting. ...read more.

Middle

The ostler uses narrative, "I find an old man..." this showing that he/she has made a discovery, making the reader want to find out about the old man. Also, both these stories have been written in a mysterious way as to make the reader want to carry on, the signalman using a cold, weary, and isolated, where as the ostler uses an everyday appearance, out in the open, but still cold and weary, causing two different effects, the signalman causing suspense, and the ostler causing mystery and a feeling of fate. The signalman is a moody and mysterious character where as the character from the ostler, Isaac is a quiet and unlucky person. These characteristics are what make the stories what they are. The signalman says "I don't know," this explaining that he could be possibly hiding something. The inn keeper from the ostler remarks "You're our only lodger tonight" this implies that Isaac is a lonely character. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens and Collins end their stories in different ways; the ostler is ended with a cliff hanger however the signalman is ended with a twist. In the ostler Isaac is forever having his recurring dream or being stabbed by a witch with a knife, he falls in love with his first, and his last woman and she turns out to be the witch and does not stop haunting him, at the end of the story the reader does not know if she has stopped haunting him. And in the signalman it is quite ironic that he and the narrator didn't understand the warning signs of his death. The spectre is more effective in terms of mystery and suspense I think as it doesn't spoil it and tell the reader what happens after, where as the signalman does; it leaves you in wonder and wanting to find out. Very effective I think. But I prefer the signalman as it is less effective, I don't really like ghost stories that much and is not as much as a ghost story as the ostler. ...read more.

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