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Essay Comparing The Call and The Signalman.

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Name: Rebecca Crawshaw Assignment: Essay Comparing The Call and The Signalman Set: 10:01 Teacher: Mrs Shadlock The aim of this essay is to compare and contrast two ghost stories. The Signalman, a pre 20th century story by Charles Dickens and a post 20th century story, The Call by Robert Westall. The Signalman is set in 1866, the story is about a signalman who is visited by a ghost. The ghost warns him about future accidents. Every time the ghost appears, somebody is killed. But after the third time the ghost shows up, the signalman is hit by a train. The Call is set in 1983/1984, the story is about Meg and Geoff Charlesworth who work in the local Samaritans office, in the call centre. Meg and Geoff are working on Christmas Eve when they receive a mysterious call from a woman who is convinced her husband is going to kill her. Eventually, Geoff goes out to look for her, but can not find where she is calling from. When he returns to the office he finds Meg gone. He calls Tom Brent and they go to the Lock to look for her and catch her just before she follows the ghost over the edge into the Lock. The use of steam-trains used in The Signalman shows that it is set in the 1800's. ...read more.


Both Meg and Geoff are isolated from help because when they ring Tom Brent for help he just says 'it's a hoax call'. The signalman is also isolated from help because if he tells his authorities of his 'sightings' they might think that he is going insane and he might get 'displaced'. If you were insane in the Victorian period you would be put in prison or perhaps killed. Both settings are dark and damp. The Call is set at midnight at Christmas time; the middle of winter. 'The snow's melting, not even laying' creating a bleak atmosphere. The Signalman's' environment is dark not just because of the time of day but because of the position of the railway 'so little sunlight ever found its way to this spot'. Finally, both stories are written in 1st person narrative. The authors use this technique because it is more believable. If someone is saying it from their point of view, it is more realistic. When you compare them, there are a number of differences in the stories. One difference is that The Signalman is pre 20th century and The Call is post 20th century. This is shown by the jobs each character does, the use of language and the inclusion of modern inventions. Lastly the endings are different. ...read more.


Finally the tone of voice that the ghost uses clearly affects Meg 'It's not the phrase that was awful it was the tone'. This creates suspense for the reader because it makes the reader curious about the kind of person who is at the end of the telephone. Dickens' similarly uses many suspense techniques. He makes the visitor go back so that the reader has to wait 'I had appointed to return, accordingly. This creates suspense as the reader has to keep reading to find out what happens to the signalman. The author will not reveal why the signalman is depressed 'but I am troubled sir, I am troubled'. This makes the reader question why he is troubled, forcing the reader on. Finally, Dickens' uses the actions of the characters. He uses the reactions of the signalman 'Turned his face to the bell when it DID NOT ring.' When the reader reads this they will be mysterious as to why the signalman acted like this. It is a good suspense technique which will make the reader intrigued and read faster to find out what happens. As a result of analysing these two chilling stories, my preference is The Call as it is easier to understand. This is due to it being a more modern story. Also it is my preference because Westalls' suspense techniques are more effective. Further more compared to The Signalman, The Call has a better storyline. 1 ...read more.

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