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How does Charles Dickens create tension and suspense for the reader in 'The Signalman'?

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Introduction

How does Charles Dickens create tension and suspense For the reader in 'The Signalman'? In this essay I shall be discussing and analysing how Charles Dickens creates tension and suspense for the reader in the short story of 'The Signalman'. I shall be looking at devices such as the use of language and imagery, the setting and atmosphere and the narrative style and structure used throughout the story. The setting and atmosphere of the story is a major device used to create suspense and tension. The setting in every ghost story sets up the audience or reader up by creating tension through the weather, and the setting from which the story shall unravel. The eeriness and atmosphere of 'the cutting' sets a stereotypical scene for a mysterious or scary story "the cutting was very deep, it became oozier and wetter as you went deeper" The 'Cutting' is also described as something supernatural or out of this world "it struck chill to me, as if I had already left the natural world". ...read more.

Middle

The use of repetition of 'gloomier' also adds tension to the reader towards the tunnel and its mystery. Dickens also uses emotive language to describe the tunnel as an unpleasant place to go. "barbarous, depressing and forbidding air" This creates such tension that it almost foreshadows that something dramatic will happen in the tunnel. One of the main devices used to create suspense and tension for the reader is the fact Dickens leaves the reader masked form the point or purpose of the story, due to the plot not being in chronological order and flashes back in time to gradually reveal what is going on. The narrator has to return to the signal box, to get an explanation for why the signalman was spooked when the narrator called out "Halloa! Below there!" This plot leaves the reader interested and in suspense. ...read more.

Conclusion

First the narrator is jolly and enthusiastic, "Next evening was a lovely evening, and I walked out early to enjoy it" Then the mood is dramatically changed as the story takes a twist, "the nameless horror that oppressed me." The narrator is now upset and evokes sympathy from the reader this adds tension as the mood of the story is now being dictated by the readers' interpretations of the plot. The relationship between the narrator and the signalman is very odd and irregular as the signalman speaks in a very low and subtle tone of voice and then puts his arm on his, and leans forward, this relationship creates more tension in the story for the reader. Charles Dickens uses many devices in which he creates suspense and tension in 'The Signalman'. These devices include the use of language and imagery, characterisation, narrative structure and style, character relationships and the setting and atmosphere. All of these devices are used effectively and successfully. Ross Gunnet 10.1 9th December 2002 English Coursework 1 ...read more.

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