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In The darkness out there, Shredni vashtar and The signalman, authors create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. How do the authors achieve this and which do you think is the most successful?

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Introduction

"The darkness out there", "Shredni vashtar" and "The signalman" In "The darkness out there", "Shredni vashtar" and "The signalman", authors create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. How do the authors achieve this and which do you think is the most successful? "The Signalman" takes place in and around a deep railway cutting during the 19th century. The genre is ghost story? The language used like 'damp stains', frozen finger tracing my spine' and 'disagreeable shudder' shows it could be a ghost story. It is written in the first person. The story begins with an unnamed visitor who shouts "hallao below there!" to the signalman who works below in a railway cutting. Dickens leaves the main characters nameless this adds suspense. He describes the cutting as 'deep 'clammy' oozier' 'wetter' and 'earthly dead smell'. These words suggest to us that it is a dark, dangerous and hidden place. Dickens has used detailed description of the cutting to create an atmosphere of mystery. "The darkness out there" the theme is the contrast between appearance and reality, how things seem and how things are. In this story, both time and place are very important. The story is told from Sandra's viewpoint, but it is written in the third person. ...read more.

Middle

But Sandra finds out that Mrs Rutter a lovely old lady is actually evil. When Mrs Rutter tells them how she left a young German Airman in the crashed plane to die in suffering. The person who visits the signalman learns the unexplained visions of a strange figure hiding his face with one arm and waving a flag was actually warnings given by the spirit of the signalman himself of his own death. Sandra learns the true nature of evil, evil is not some unnamed threat but the reality of what people can do. ".... And the next you glimpsed darkness, an inescapable darkness. The darkness was out there and it was a part of you and you would never be without it, ever." We learn in "The darkness out there" that the darkness can exist in ourselves and is much more frightening than the darkness which exists in dark places or woods. No matter what the darkness in us will always be deep down in our hearts. We see in "The Signalman" even though we can build magnificent scientific devices, there are still things in the world in which we have no explanation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Conradin sits down smiles and makes some toast. "Shredni Vashtar" is the turn of the century story, based on the experience of young children like "The darkness out there". Like "The signalman", it is the expectation of what the character central to the story will do that creates the suspense. The author creates mystery by not telling us what happened to the guardian of Conradin. It makes us wonder what happened to Mrs de Ropp? Is she alive or dead? Could Mrs de Ropp be dead because the maid says "Whoever will break it to the poor child? I couldn't for the life of me!" Did the words Conradin say in his prayer (His enemies called for peace, but he brought them death) come true? The author creates suspense by leaving us to our imagination. The shed is the centre for mystery because we do not know what happens while Mrs de Ropp is inside. Again like "The Signalman" we are left with an unexplained ending. I think the most successful is "The signalman" because the techniques Charles Dickens uses are very realistic and he creates a good atmosphere of mystery and suspense throughout the whole story. The story is a true mystery; it can have no solution as it is about the impossibility of ever knowing what is real. Penny Ho ...read more.

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