• 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 use the ghost story genre to provoke fear into both the Victorian & modern reader of "The Signalman"?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Charles Dickens use the ghost story genre to provoke fear into both the Victorian & modern reader of "The Signalman"? Like many other authors, Charles Dickens wrote from his own life experiences. He wrote "The Signalman" due to a horrific incidence where the train derailed at a high speed and killed 10 people. However, when it came to his ghost stories, he drew inspiration from a great imagination because of his childhood where he lived in poverty and would have come into contact with some of life's different and not always pleasant, characters. Normally ghost stories in that time, would have included monsters or ghosts and these were usually always "evil" whilst the characters were usually "good". Also the fact that a typical ghost story at the time would have the story concluding in a good way because people believed that "good" should always overcome "bad". People in the Victorian era were very wary of all the new modern things that were happening around them, such as the new train network. ...read more.

Middle

He gives the signalman a mysterious appearance by mentioning of his "odd skin tone and thick eyebrows"; this gives the reader the impression of a weird looking man. The Victorians were immensely interested in the abnormal and the thought of man who was less than perfect in looks would have intrigued them. This would have given the book an interesting appeal for them. Dickens changed the way the characters behaved throughout the book, at first the signalman seemed quite scared but as the book progressed his mood changed and he became more at ease with the situation but the narrator became more anxious. The narrator seemed like any normal man. However, as the story progressed people became more intrigued about who he was and why he was there. The characters in this book are not typical of the ghost stories of the time as the stories usually included ghosts or visions of the long dead. The signalman was alive and well, this in itself would have seemed unusual to the Victorians. ...read more.

Conclusion

The ghost is described as a figure, not clearly seen, waving with one hand, while the other hand hides its face. I think the end is a sad one, the signalman was quite scared of the fact that seeing the ghost usually meant the death of someone, but the story explains that the signalman saw the circumstances of his own death, not someone else's. The Victorians at the time were quite fearful of the railways. Considering they had no cars, or planes, meant that a large number of people were actually killed because of rail accidents. This in itself would have been enough to fuel any fear they had. Victorians were very interested in the supernatural, and seemed to enjoy reading about ghosts. Many more people went to church than now and, were quite convinced there was more than just life. The afterlife was quite commonly believed in. As modern readers I think that we can read the book and enjoy it, without the fear attached. We are more sceptical about the idea of ghosts and need proof of sometimes before we can accept it on face value. Carly Hayes 11T ...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. How does Charles Dickens use settings in his story to provoke fear in his ...

    On the other hand it was tedious and took too long for a short story to reach the climax. I think the ghost was described with not much imagination because most ghosts are white and scary they don't vary much so there is not much to describe.

  2. In what ways is "The Signalman" a typical ghost story?

    to do for the time was to compose his mind" In "The Red Room" the main character is sceptical about the room being haunted but soon his coolness is reduced to terror. Just like the narrator in "The Signalman". Even Scrooge from "A Christmas Carol" is sceptical of his brother, Jacob's ghost being real.

  1. In your study of ghost stories, what have you learnt about the ghost story ...

    He describes him to the others as 'a poor excuse of a man'. The ghost is a new ghost who doesn't know how to haunt cannot remember how to get back to heaven. Sanderson takes the ghost into his room and finds out that he died because of his own stupidity.

  2. Dickens ghosts. Malevolent or Benevolent

    future, to get Tom to marry the widow and to "settle...in the public-house". "I am very much obliged to you for your good opinion sir" said Tom which suggests a sense of agreement in a benevolent way. "You shall have her she shall not" the old gentleman dictated.

  1. "A short story should stimulate the imagination and hold its reader in suspense."Consider the ...

    Instead of such information being spoken, the title implies that the heart may expose a secret. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," is a much simpler title but the use of the word "adventure" is

  2. In what ways do you believe Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde reflects the interests ...

    The reason the story is set on a railway reflects the fact that new transport systems were progressively evolving and people were very interested in this ever-changing technology. The story begins with the passer-by trying to grab the signalman's attention.

  1. Examine three different ghost stories; how successfully have the authors involved the readers in ...

    The narrator tells us this three quarters of the way down page 264, 'He had also worked at fractions and decimals, and tried a little algebra'. The narrator has been recovering from an illness and it tells us this at the beginning.

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

    Despite this, each main character is however quite brave and vulnerable in their situations so that the readers can sympathise with them, building suspense. The 'young doctor' is vulnerable to the 'shrouded' 'figure', and her speech increases this impression as it seems full of riddles, presenting the readers with a

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