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How tension is built up in both 'the Darkness Out There' and 'The Signalman'

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How tension is built up in both 'the Darkness Out There' and 'The Signalman' The stories are set in slightly different eras - 'the signalman' is set in the Victorian era, written by Charles Dickens, whilst 'the Darkness out there' is set a more recent 20th century, and written by Penelope Lively. Although both stories are set in different times, both of the script writers build up tension using different techniques. The Victorian era was a very gothic and supernatural time, with the invention of the steam train. It was huge, nobody had ever seen anything like it, the loud roar of the engine, like a massive black beast, cutting its way through the countryside. The technology involved was so vast that no-body really knew what it was, or how it worked. The 20th century story is based around the period just after the Second World War, so emotions are high, and it is a very psychological. ...read more.


Short sentences and repetition also make us feel tense The characters from both stories are not so dissimilar from the outside. The old lady from 'the darkness out there' is very much like a cottage loaf, widowed she stays in her cottage, not going outside much but always seeming to be active. The signalman is very similar by the fact that he is lonely, sat in his little control tower deep within the cutting. Spending his days reading the books he keeps on his shelves and teaching himself maths and other new skills he had never thought of. Though they both have something in common, they both believed they'd seen ghosts. The old lady, Mrs Rutter, spoke to some kids telling them stories about a World War 2 plane which crash landed in a wood behind her house, and that there where German men in it who she saw struggling to survive in the bitterly cold winter whilst she stayed in the comfort of her home, watching them suffer and die, claiming to have seen ghostly images of them. ...read more.


argued that her attitude is not acceptable, but she has been through a lot of pain and if she had helped the Germans and the English authorities found out, then without doubt she would more than likely have be executed, so you could say, that she was protecting herself but the Germans had to suffer, to ensure she would live, though she may have died anyway, from an explosion, or the Germans may have seized the English authorities, and thus, have power over England. The signalman's story seems crazy, unrealistic and very unbelievable., the super natural that can not be explained, it was what people thought in the era. The one time the signalman chooses to ignore the voice was the one time he should have. The calm scientific reasoning of the author was wrong whilst the hysterical ramblings of the signalman was surprisingly correct. However, still the unexplained ending leaves us in a very tense and unsettled state. Simon Herbert 11RP ...read more.

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