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Examine the techniques used to create a tense atmosphere in Charles Dickens' The SignalMan.

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Introduction

Examine the techniques used to create a tense atmosphere in Charles Dickens' The SignalMan. This essay is going to examine the techniques that create a tense atmosphere in Charles Dickens' The Signalman. The Signlman is about signalman that comes into contact with a spectre, which warn him of his death, but he doesn't know it. He also meets an anonymous person and befriends him, and tells him about his life. The first impressions I had of the signalman were that he is a lonely, desolate man, who doesn't speak to many people. He works alone, in a dark, damp place, and has a lot of spare time on his hands. He intelligent, to a degree, and has tried to teach himself fractions, decimals and algebra. The first impressions the narrator had of the signalman was that he was afraid of him; "But in making the action, I detected in his eyes some latent fear of me." ...read more.

Middle

In saying this, the signalman makes even the reader believe that he did see it, and this adds more tension Also, the fact that the signalman died, but at a stage when the signalman wasn't expecting, and the fact that the spectre had foretold this, adds more tension because it makes the reader think about the spectres and the death of the signalman and leaves questions in your mind for example, how did the spectres know about the signal man's death. Another way that Charles Dickens created tension, as well as the characters, was the setting which also created a tense atmosphere, for example the place that the signalman worked, was eerie and daunting, and supernatural: "So very little sunlight had ever its way on to this spot, that it had an earthy, deadly smell; and so much cold wind rushed through it, that it struck chill to me, as if I had left the natural world." ...read more.

Conclusion

When the signalman died, it left a lot of unanswered questions, for example, how did the spectres know about the signalmans death, and why couldn't the narrator see the spectres, and this also creates a lot of tension, because at this point, the reader will want to know more about the story, and the characters. The mystery is unexplained, and creates tension. Dickens does this to make the reader want more, and leaves the reader hanging in suspense, because the unknown excites the mind and they will want to read more of his work. In conclusion, there are very many ways in which Charles Dickens created a tense atmosphere in The Signalman, like settings, objects used, characters, and making the reader think about the story, and having lots of questions that want to be answered, and leaving the story unsolved makes it even more tense. ...read more.

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