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For our chosen text we read "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens.

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Introduction

The Signalman. For our chosen text we read "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens. This short story was written about one hundred and fifty years ago, therefore it was written for a purpose that we would not write for today. Dickens would have written this story to be read out to a public audience. This was because it was impossible to print many copies of the same book to be sold in shops. The opening of the story is straight to the point. The first thing we encounter is the narrator addressing the Signalman. In the first paragraph we are given an eerie confusion of the narrator. Although the Signalman can definitely hear the narrator, he seems to ignore the calling. This creates a mystery in itself, as we need to think why the 'shadowed' figure is not responding to the narrator's call. Is the Signalman waiting for a train to go past, or is he just being rude. The second time that the narrator called, the Signalman 'turned himself about,' and noticed the narrator's 'figure high above him.' We are given a very good description of the terrain with just a few short simple statements. This is a great way to keep the reader, and audience interested, as we do not have to sit for too long listening to, or reading endless paragraphs of pointless description. ...read more.

Middle

Although this paragraph, shows good facts about the location, we aren't really left in a feeling of suspense after reading it. We are told that the Signalman's box is in a 'steep cutting.' This shows us that the Signalman's working environment is lonely and isolated. This is good for mystery because we are left thinking about how many visitors the Signalman really does get. Is he really a lonely man in a solitary environment? The language and structure of this story is very well presented. Dickens uses long adjectiveful sentences to give detailed description, and shorter, more to the point sentences where necessary. An example of one of the longer sentences would be: 'I resumed my downward way, and stepping out upon the level of the railroad, and drawing nearer to him, saw that he was a dark sallow man, with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows.' One of the shorter sentences, which I like, is a rather effective metaphor, which describes the Signalman's point of no return in his education: 'He had made his bed, and he had lay upon it.' This basically means that once you have gone as far as lying on your bed, or in the Signalman's case, misusing opportunities, you can't turn the clock back. I think that this would be a typical example of a metaphor from one hundred and fifty years ago, and I think it may have been regularly used in appropriate situations. ...read more.

Conclusion

Unlike other tales, the ending of the Signalman is very hard to predict, whereas in the other stories, the endings are those that are typically expected from these types of story. Though the language was fairly advanced, it was easier to understand than the language used by Kate Chopin in D�sir�e's Baby. The general plot of the story was very clear, as a pose to the not so obvious plot in The Red Room. My own initial response to this story was of confusion. I did not really understand the twist in the tale's tail until I had read it once or twice more. I thought this was quite an interestingly and well-written short story. I found it difficult to read, but this doesn't really matter as the story made me want to keep reading. I liked the way the story was organised. By this, I mean the fact that Dickens wrote his story in the form of three meetings. I found the story more interesting than the other short stories that we read, as the plot was very imaginative. My conclusions on this story are those of which could be called regular. I do believe that Dickens creates an atmosphere of mystery and suspense in his story to such an extent that the reader is almost confused. I think that Dickens wrote this story particularly well according to his target audience, and his world recognition was earned using a high extent of literary skills. The Signalman. Daniel Burgess. 10G 1 ...read more.

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