• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do Dickens and Gaskell use language to create setting and atmosphere?

Extracts from this document...


How do Dickens and Gaskell use language to create setting and atmosphere? Ms.F.Pow Rebecca Lau In the two short ghost stories, The Signalman, written by Charles Dickens and The Old Nurse's Story written by Elizabeth Gaskell, a lot of techniques were used to create setting and atmosphere. These techniques may include pathetic fallacy, detailed imagery, using traditional ghost story settings, and first person point of view. In The Signalman, Dickens chose not to tell readers the names of characters to give the characters a mysterious atmosphere. The signalman never introduced himself thoroughly, so he is always referred to as "he" or "him", "he stirred" "he answered" "he returned". This makes him veiled, as a name is the most common way of knowing a person. This makes the character of the signalman harder to understand, and builds up a mysterious atmosphere. Dickens and Gaskell both use pathetic fallacy to reflect the character's feelings and the atmosphere. The "angry sunset" and the "barbarous, depressing, and forbidding air" in The Signalman all reflect the narrator's feelings. ...read more.


Both writers chose to use traditional ghost stories settings, which is basing the whole story in an isolated, remote and ancient place. The Old Nurse's Story is set in the "black moors of Northumberland" or "the foot of the Cumberland Fells" which "left all signs of a town, or even a village"; while The Signalman is set in a place of "dripping-wet wall of jagged stone, excluding all view but a strip of sky" and near to a "black tunnel" with a "gloomy red light". The isolation of these settings implies that it needs journeys over dangerous lands, further suggesting how stranded the characters are, as there will be no rescuers. These solitary settings also suggest how defenseless and vulnerable the characters are, if unexpected events occur. These secluded settings contribute to building up the tense atmosphere. Both The Signalman and The Old Nurse's Story contains a lot of detailed imageries of the bleak and melancholy setting to give the reader a complete image and to build up the tension. ...read more.


Dickens writes The Signalman as one of the main protagonist is also the narrator of the story, creating a strong uncertain atmosphere in the story as to not everything said may be true. As the narrator is the one who has "reason him out of his conviction", he is obviously the "protagonist" of the story. But at the same time, he is also the narrator, readers are seeing from his point of view, so the readers might be mislead as to whether the narrator is the protagonist or not. This creates an obscurity atmosphere on the story to the reader. Both the short stories The Signalman and The Old Nurse's Story do not have very happy endings; the atmospheres at the end are mostly depressing and relieving. The settings and techniques used when writing these short ghost stories are somewhat similar, suggesting that ghost stories are mostly based on the plot of the story, but the setting and atmosphere is still important. ?? ?? ?? ?? 2nd English Coursework first draft 1/2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Signalman section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Signalman essays

  1. The use of atmosphere in the Signalman.

    This adds more to the suspense as you are wondering what is going to happen with the uncle and what is the boy going to be asked to do. When the boy gets to the place suspense is built up in the gloom and spooky description of the place and

  2. Looking further into the aspects of Gothic Horror, three short stories, 'The Black Cottage' ...

    Orphans are often associated with Gothic horror stories also, which adds tension. Hester is a character that the reader will rightly like, because she is kind hearted, and an overall lovely person to read about and relate to. There are five minor characters at this point in `The Old Nurse's

  1. Short, entertaining stories were extremely popular within the Victorian era, and a number of ...

    Throughout the middles of the three stories each writer had the task of managing to create and maintain the suspense that they had begun to build within the beginnings of the stories. Within 'The Black Cottage' the tension begins to increase when Bessie is enjoying 'knitting' 'lazily', listening to the

  2. The Old Nurse(TM)s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Signalman by Charles ...

    a deception of his sense of sight; and how that figures, originating in disease of the delicate nerves that minister to the functions of the eye, were known to have often troubled patients, some of whom had become conscious of the nature of their affliction, and had even proved it by experiments upon themselves".

  1. What Method's do the writers use in order to create mood, atmosphere and character ...

    In The Signalman it talks about the path as "...rough zigzag descending path notched out" an accumulation of adjectives. The effects of these adjectives gives the reader a better picture of how terrible the place is. The narrator describes, as a metaphor, the cutting as a "great dungeon" and that it has a "barbarous, depressing and forbidding air".

  2. If you are setting this submission as

    of doing so, though I could not have said, for my life, what. But I know it was remarkable enough to attract my notice" which suggests that he is not entirely normal. When the narrator asks about a path into the valley, he says the signalman "looked up at me

  1. How does Charles Dickens create an appropriate atmosphere through description of the setting and ...

    A scary, haunting scene is produced. Almost the entire story takes place in this setting, so the atmosphere is almost permanently tense and deathly. From there on, the story is mainly following a conversation between the narrator and the signal-man.

  2. English coursework Prose study-Examine the settings that the writers have chosen for their stories. ...

    the woman then for fills her promise and leaves Isaac, she however returns in the night and attempts to kill Isaac, he however escapes and the woman is never seen again. Isaac fears the woman will one day return for him and kill him, he is apprehensive about her return

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work