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Introduction

Rhoda Banfro Mrs Wilkie Compare how Dickens creates a sense of mystery and menace in the 'Black Veil' and the 'Signal Man'. Explain how he uses these theories to explore his theme? The opening of both stories are quite different. The Black Veil is written in the third person and The Signal man is written in the first person narrative. The Black Veil creates an atmosphere of cosiness and warmth which is created by the items of clothing which are worn by the doctor. 'reposing in his dressing gown and slippers' The atmosphere is also created by pleasant thoughts as the doctor thinks of his native place and dearest friends. 'Then his mind reverted to his annual Christmas visit to his native place and dearest friends'. There is also a contrast within the story of the Black Veil negative against positive for example Death and life or Squalid and cosy etc. In contrast the Signal man's opening draws great attention to the audience. "Halloa! Bellow there!" Immediately there is an element of mystery, the Signal man looks down the line instead of where the sound is coming from. 'he turned about, and looked down the line.' ...read more.

Middle

On the second occasion a young woman died in mysterious circumstances "That very day, as a train came out of the tunnel, I noticed, at a carriage window on my side, what looked like a confusion of hands and heads, and something waved. I saw it just in time to signal the driver, Stop! He shut off, and put his brake on, but the train drifted past here a hundred and fifty yards or more. I ran after it, and, as I went along, heard terrible screams and cries. A beautiful young lady had died instantaneously in one of the compartments, and was brought in here, and laid down on this floor between us." An oncoming train killed the signalman when he stood in its path. "He was cut down by an engine, sir. No man in England knew his work better. But somehow he was not clear of the outer rail. It was just at broad day. He had struck the light, and had the lamp in his hand. As the engine came out of the tunnel, his back was towards her, and she cut him down. The narrator put this incident down to circumstances which could not be avoided. The signal man is about the effect of technology and industrialisation on the human soul. ...read more.

Conclusion

5 minutes later the woman in the Black Veil comes into the room and motions the doctor to advance. We then discover that the man has been hanged and the mystery is solved. The van outside the house delivered the body and the doctor could not see this person because he was being hanged for a criminal offence. The mother was a widow without any friends or money and had denied herself comforts for her son but her son did not seem to care about the suffering his mother had endured for him and his welfare became fixated on this woman's mind which drove her to insanity in the same way the figure appearing to the signal man drove him to insanity as well. The story ends on an uplifting note. The doctor visited this woman everyday and supported her financially. At last when the woman died her last breath uttered a prayer for this doctor. 'That prayer flew to heaven and was heard', and the doctor was blessed throughout his life. Dickens leaves us with a moral If you are charitable then you will be rewarded later in life from heaven for your good deeds. One of the main purposes of this story is to awake the readers social conscious by being aware of people who are less fortunate than ourselves. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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