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How effective do you find

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Introduction

English Coursework: How effective do you find "the Signalman" as a ghost story? This story utilizes a lot of horror and uses it in conjunction with mystery to move the plot along and keep the reader on the edge of their seat. When the author incorporates the horror into the story, not only is he keeping the reader puzzled, but he is also making the reader afraid. When an author can make the reader feel like this, then the elements of the story have been used effectively. The reader's feelings are a measure of how effective the author has been in using horror, mystery or any other elements. I will refer closely to two moments in the story perhaps indicating how effective "the signalman" is as a ghost story. A complexity arises in the story and that is was there really a supernatural apparition, or was it just coincidence that the disasters happened after the signalman thought he saw something? There is a very powerful opening as the Narrator shouts "Halloa! Below there!", which are key words throughout this chilling short story. The exclamation marks at once produces an alarming suspense and raises tension as the reader cannot acknowledge which character speaks. What is the significance of this phrase? The name of the story is "the signalman" but what does it really stand for, why is the story called the "signalman"? How effective is "the signalman" as a ghost story? How is the story created and sustained? ...read more.

Middle

Then, the story takes a turn towards the supernatural side, "I ran towards it... then it was gone," and it creates a more supernatural side to the story, assign to its effectiveness as a ghost story ,and the readers are now more aware that perhaps this unknown being is a spectre, and to add to this sinister and rather quite frightening atmosphere, he describes with detail, the surroundings of the area where the signalman saw the being, "wet stains, stealing down the walls and trickling through the arch...(for I had mortal abhorrence of the place upon me)." The mystery is intensified further and this description is effective because it puts the reader in the position of the signalman and sends shivers through their spines. The fact that he used the word "mortal" reminds us that he is mortal, and that perhaps the "life threatening" thing he is dealing with is immortal. The narrator then tries comforting the signalman, but the fear is still there. The narrator is uneasy however tries to rationalize, there is fear but resistance, and the argument towards this "supernatural being" is led by science. The intelligent and effective technique that Dickens uses, and has used constantly before, is that technique for the narrations to reflect our reactions, thoughts and questions. The narrator is sceptical on the idea of ghosts and spectres. It is as thought the signalman believes in ghosts, but the narrator is more rational, and "needs to be converted", there is a dynamic difference between the two. ...read more.

Conclusion

The words "Halloa! Below there!" had been from the train driver trying to warn the Signalman to get out of the way. The spectres actions had been because after the crash the train driver had been in the same position. Gesticulating of the arms was supposed to mean "Get out of the way!" Charles Dickens' subtle pre-cognition of the signalman ends in a climax in which the clues have been given in a discreet but clear manner. Dickens also uses the literary devices such as repetition, similes and intense description to create the imagery that we are in a very frightening and lonely place, whenever we are with the Signalman. Dickens indeed uses many of the essential techniques commonly used in short story writing, starting with only using the bare minimum of important characters. The very name of the story, 'The Signalman' is as explicit in its irony, as it is effective in its purpose, of creating an awe of mystery around the story. It cruelly but entertainingly, creates the false perception of the story's name being based around the central character of the Signalman, when in fact, I believe, it is in relation to the ghostly apparition, which gives 'Signals' to the haunted signalman in his secluded box. At the end of the story the reader has become sympathetic towards the signalman after going through a range of feelings from mysteriousness to trustworthiness. Relationship between characters The abnormality of the Signal man seems to decrease after every visit that the Narrator attends, although the climax increases and more incomplete information is given, making the reader eager to read the next visit Answer q's in conclusion ...read more.

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