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Having Read The "Woman in Black" and "The Signalman", say Which one You Think is The Better Ghost Story and Explain Your Reasons For your Choice.

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Introduction

Having Read The "Woman in Black" and "The Signalman", say Which one You Think is The Better Ghost Story and Explain Your Reasons For your Choice (Key: WIB-Woman In Black / TS-The Signalman) In my own view when it comes to deciding which of the texts is better, I would prefer "The Woman In Black". This is because the author has a distinct way in which she builds up the dark, ominous mood of the book. Conversely, while both of the texts are categorised as ghost stories, they differ in many aspects. "Let us, then be introduced to the actors in a placid way, let us see them going about their ordinary business, undisturbed by foreboding, pleased with their surroundings; and into this calm environment, let the ominous thing put out it's head, unobtrusively at first, and then more insistently, until it holds the stage." - M.R.Jones - Ghost Story Writer 20th Century The narrative devices used in WIB are used to great effect. For example, when the author tries to give clues to the future, she provides them very obviously when needed. "'Children?' 'Children.' Mr Bentley fell silent.....'No, there were no children.'" Here, it is shown that children are a key clue to the proceedings of the story. It is shown by the characters reaction to the word. ...read more.

Middle

When Arthur Kipps asks Mr Jerome to accompany him to Eel Marsh House, he refuses and doesn't want anyone else from the town to go with Arthur. "His (Mr Jerome) pale domed forehead was beading with perspiration." It is plain to see here that Mr Jerome is showing signs of anxiety towards Eel Marsh House and it's past. When Arthur Kipps first arrives in London, he comments on the "filthy, evil-smelling fog...that choked and blinded." Here the author is personifying the fog, so that it is easier to imagine. The thick fog helps to create a sombre atmosphere, one of melancholy and prepares us in some way for the subsequent events of the novel. However, in TS there are some similarities in the way that the author creates atmosphere. For example, the descriptive language used by Charles Dickens helps you to visualise "The Line". "Crooked prolongation of this great dungeon... little sunlight ever found it's way to this spot." This helps to establish the isolated foreboding atmosphere. However, the next line is also very interesting: "As if I had left the natural world." To the narrator, this place seems to have an unearthly aura to it, one of evil and despondency. I think it is a good description of the cutting. It aids you in feeling what the narrator feels when he enters this place. ...read more.

Conclusion

It seems to me, he says it in a way that shows that writing down his experience hasn't actually helped him progress past it, instead it is making him relive it. Although in TS, the ending is also an unexpected climax. The signalman is killed by a train, and the driver shouts out and gives the same gesture as the spectre did to the signalman, so the signalman thinks it is another ghost and ignores it. The ending makes you think about the past hauntings. The hauntings don't actually warn the signalman, paradoxically they are perhaps the reason why the signalman is killed in the end. For, if he had not heard those same hauntings time and time again, he might have actually realised that the words from the driver were real. Also, it makes you wonder, that the 'warnings' were not only from the spectre, but also from the narrator himself. The ending also still leaves many things unexplained. Surely the signalman would have heard the sound of the train? Even if he thought the words from the driver were from a ghost. In conclusion, it is clear to see that although the two texts differ in many ways and both strive to get the same response from the reader, the longer novel "The Woman in Black" is more effective because it is not confined to a short space, time and place. Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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