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

How does Charles Dickens create an appropriate atmosphere through description of the setting and the use of the language in 'The Signal-Man'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Charles Dickens create an appropriate atmosphere through description of the setting and the use of the language in 'The Signal-man' 'The Signal-man' is a ghostly thriller by Charles Dickens. Based on an apparently hallucinating signal-man and the tales of his hallucinations, the story is seen through the eyes of the narrator, a man told of the signal-mans troubles during conversations with the signal-man himself. From the beginning of the story, the atmosphere is both eerie and gloomy. To produce this type of atmosphere, Dickens had to draw on several different aspects of English literature-mostly through description and use of language. The setting is described meticulously, producing vivid images in the mind of the reader. For example, when the narrator and the signal-man first encounter each other, the strange, mysterious atmosphere is set already. "...his figure was...down in the deep trench, and mine was high above him, so steeped in the glow of an angry sunset..." ...read more.

Middle

I ran out again, faster than I had run in (for I had a mortal abhorrence of the place upon me)..." This quotation conveys the signal-mans feelings of fear and anxiety well. Later on, when the men look for the spectre at the tunnel, significance is put upon the mouth of the tunnel in a way that makes the atmosphere tense. "there was the danger-light. There, was the dismal mouth of the tunnel." All of these descriptions help build up to the creepy, edgy ending, but the use of the language is another important part of the unnerving atmosphere. Many times, when talking about the stories setting, dickens would use emotive colours in descriptions, such as: "...the glow of an angry sunset." "...a gloomy red light and a gloomier entrance to a black tunnel." "...his grave, dark regards..." The main theme of the use of colours is danger and despair. The prominent colours are red and black, which are both dark, gloomy colours, but can also be harsh and angry. ...read more.

Conclusion

Such a quotation gives a fair indication of the signal-mans bizarre manner, though it doesn't give particular hint to the panic that appears to rise with the signal-mans character when he talks and thinks about the spectre. "What is the danger? Where is the danger...Surely there is a cruel haunting of me. What can I do?" The use of short, sharp sentences helps increase the signal-mans hysteria. Many of the events in the story are written in long, thoroughly descriptive sentences that include several commas to separate specific events, and further descriptions. Though sometimes it can be slightly difficult to follow the story, I understand that this kind of writing was common for the time. The only time the sentence structure differs is when the story is at a tenser moment. At such a point, the sentences tend to be shorter and more to the point. I think this way; the sentences make a bigger impact. Taking all of this into account, I believe that the atmosphere for the story has been well produced through both the description of the setting, and the usage of language. By Kimberley Sunter ...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. Charles Dickins the signal man

    This setting is very unconventional and hasn't really been done before giving it an edge other stories. Making the reader uneasy about a familiar place is clever as it gives the story a personal touch. Plus with the unusualness of having one setting makes the reader really know the station

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

    very biting and keen" and "whenever it was a more stormy night than usual, between the gusts, and through the wind we heard the old lord playing on the great organ" describes the bad premonition of the narrator and builds up a tension in the atmosphere of the whole story.

  1. The Signalman By Charles Dickens, Explain How the Author Creates an Appropriate Atmosphere for ...

    Later on in the story, he depicts a dungeon-like area and that it feels as though he has "left the natural world". He says "a dripping-wet wall of jagged stone" and "so little sunlight ever found it's way to this spot, that it had an earthy deadly smell; and so

  2. How Does The Writer Create Atmosphere In The Novel

    Followed up by saying "but I am troubled, sir, I am troubled" the way he repeats the same phrase creates an atmosphere, this is emphasised by him not actually telling us what he is troubled by. The author enhances this by the signalman replying "It is very difficult, sir!"

  1. Prose English

    In 'The Signalman' there is more silence than sound, which creates tension for the reader. Silence often conveys loneliness and isolation, which is true in the story as the signalman has no-one to communicate down there with normally and he is isolated to that one small hut.

  2. The Signal Man

    His post was in as solitary and dismal place as ever. On either side, a dripping wet wall of jagged stone, excluding all view but a strip of sky; the perspective one way only a crooked prolongation of this great dungeon, in the shorter perspective in the other direction was

  1. How is the Atmosphere of Mystery and Suspense built up in the two short ...

    However the most significant connection appears to be between the narrator and the spectre in that the narrator repeats the words that the signalman hears from the Spectre. The clue that there is a connection is given at the beginning of the story when the narrator and signalman first meet.

  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

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