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How Does Charles Dickens Create Suspense in The Signalman?

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Introduction

How Does Charles Dickens Create Suspense in The Signalman? The structure and way Charles Dickens has set the order of events in the signalman creates a lot of suspense. When The Signalman tells the narrator about the first two accidents you feel and just know a third and final accident will happen in the future with The Signalman playing some vital role in it, but the reader as yet does not know what. This also builds up the tension and the suspense. The number in literature is always three. Something is always repeated three times to have an effect on the reader. So the reader is almost certainly expecting a third accident but does not know when and what will happen. The story is set in the nineteenth century, a time when Story's supernatural powers were still believable so someone reading this at the time would feel more of the pressure. ...read more.

Middle

It is also described as being "Extremely deep and unusually precipitous" and "Solitary and dismal". It seems like the place is very isolated and cut off from the real world, the perfect place for supernatural happenings "Great dungeon". The tunnel also creates suspense. Why did he look down there in this first place and what could it be down there is described as "Barbarous, depressing and forbidding"? The smells and surroundings make him a little bit reluctant to descend "Air of reluctance". The language used to describe The Signalman and the surroundings is very gothic making the situation much more tense and therefore building up the suspense. The Signalman's behaviour about hearing the bells ring twice also creates much suspense as the narrator says he never hears them but later on in the story The Signalman explains it. Charles Dickens presents The Signalman's character as a very rational man. I believe Dickens does this because it makes The Signalman more real but in one part of the story The Signal man turns pale white as if he has seen a ghost. ...read more.

Conclusion

I also believe no matter what had happened between the start of the story and his death, it couldn't have been prevented. "The words which I myself - not he - had attached". He obviously feels responsible for his death and you feel that if he hadn't associated himself with the man, none of this would have happened. This is quite a mysterious and even scary thought. The end of the story ends all of the ideas of the reader where we thought that The Signalman would save or be the hero of the third accident. But Charles Dickens surprises us once again and blows up all the suspense and our expectations at the end of the story when you find out that The Signalman was actually the victim in the accident. It is evident that Dickens creates a lot of suspense throughout the story with the opening words and as he descends to the Signalman's hut but by doing this, Dickens showed how that by using one small phase, could lead to such dramatic events. ...read more.

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