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How Do W.W Jacobs and Charles Dickens Keep The Reader's Interests in The Short Stories "The Monkey's Paw" And "The Signalman" ?

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Introduction

How Do W.W Jacobs and Charles Dickens Keep The Reader's Interests in The Short Stories "The Monkey's Paw" And "The Signalman" ? 'The Signalman' and 'The Monkey's Paw' are very alike. Both of them have ironic twists and intense mystery. Charles Dickens wrote 'The Signalman' in the middle of the Victorian period. He set the story in a place which would make people think they were there living the story. He sets it in a gloomy railway cutting that would cause a 'chill' to most people. It was a very modern setting for Dickens to use, as railways were new to the country and of immediate interest and relevance to most people. Dickens probably chose a real place to set this story. He chose the gloomy setting to make the story particularly mysterious. There is quite a lot of curiosity in this story. For example, when the narrator calls "Halloa below there!" the Signalman just looks down the line at the danger light. "Is there any path by which I can come down and speak to you?" asks the narrator, and his reply isn't verbal. ...read more.

Middle

There are supernatural encounters in "The Signalman": for instance, when the signalman hears the bell twice yet the narrator doesn't hear it; when the signalman is talking to the narrator about the first time he saw the 'figure' and "six hours after the appearance the memorable accident on the line happened". And the same with the second incident. But all this seems like it might be on the border of coincidence. When the Signalman dies there is a sense of the supernatural, that the previous sighting of the 'spectre' has been a WHAT signalman's death. The narrator failed to accept that the signalman might have seen something of importance. The narrator "showed him how that this figure must be a deception of his sense of sight" yet the signalman as sure he had seen the 'figure'. Both stories end in an ironic twist. The irony in "The Signalman" is that all this time when the signalman was trying to help the next victim, he never knew that he was the next person to be killed. The supernatural is also involved in "The Monkey's Paw" . And again it is so close to a coincidence you have to think hard whether or not it is. ...read more.

Conclusion

as Mrs White seems to be rushing her speech, using simple one syllable words. Both stories also use the relaxing of tension and the building up of tension to keep the reader's interest. In "The Signalman", Dickens writes, "Next evening was a lovely evening" and when you read that after the previous language, it makes you wonder, why is today a lovely day when all the other days have been dismal. Then suddenly the narrator had a sudden "thrill that seized" him and he saw a live man acting out the part of the 'figure' that the signalman kept seeing, to a group of other men. It's as if the narrator could suddenly hear his heart getting faster and faster. The narrator is soon to find out that the signalman had been killed by a train. And the 'figure' that he saw was the driver of the train that was to kill the signalman. In "The Monkey's Paw" Jacobs builds up the tension by making Mr White ask short questions towards the sergeant. I feel that 'The Signalman' was the best story to keep the reader's interest. I like how Dickens uses the language and how he sets the scene right at the beginning for the reader, and how he describes the "cutting" and the "Spectre". ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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