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How Charles Dickens creates atmosphere in 'The Signalman'.

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Introduction

How Charles Dickens creates atmosphere in 'The Signalman' Charles Dickens is renowned for his unusual narrative structure and his ability to include his readers within the story. 'The Signalman' is no exception to this. Whilst reading the text I found it easy to relate to and determine the specific scenario, this is relative to escapism. Because the 'Signalman' is fictional the reader can escape to the periodic settings. Dickens created this suspension of disbelief through premonitions and semantic fields. A premonition is a link within the narrative; Dickens used this when the signalman had remembrance of a similar tragedy on the railway line. 'Within six hours after the appearance, the memorable accident on this line happened'. ...read more.

Middle

This could also have been used to influence the reader of the text to develop a subjective opinion to the outcome of the story. Dickens used his unique style of writing to create the atmosphere he wanted from each specific scene. 'I saw him at the end, like as if I saw him down a perspective-glass' This metaphor is used to emphasise the distance between the two men, and that the storyteller can easily identify the signalman but sees him in an unreal way. 'It was made through a clammy stone, that became oozier and wetter as I went down.' This semantic field of dampness is used to illustrate the scene for the purpose of the audience to relate to the narrative. ...read more.

Conclusion

'The Signalman' is a historic story and a true representation from its era. Whereas the appealing connotations to a modern day story differ to this, Dickens can be criticized in using the old style narrative. This includes the unique short sentences, historic context and vocabulary like 'foreshortened', otherwise know, 'to be made to look smaller'. Additionally when Dickens wrote this short story, there would have been this interpretation of a traditional signalman, but now as times have changed his work would have been mechanically done. This could result in problems of modern day readers relating to this kind of job, furthermore corrupting the suspension of disbelief and atmosphere. Although this could be questioned, as a passive reader historical context can be illustrated through metaphors, semantic fields, premonitions and the narrative structure, all in which can determine the atmosphere created by Dickens. Chris Brown ...read more.

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