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In this essay I will discuss the theme of fear as portrayed in "The Signalman" and "Dracula's Guest" as well as ghost stories in general.

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Introduction

Fear is an essential ingredient in any "ghost story." However both Dickens and Stoker have developed the theme of fear to encompass more than just the supernatural. In this essay I will discuss the theme of fear as portrayed in "The Signalman" and "Dracula's Guest" as well as ghost stories in general. Whether they are written or told by mouth, ghost stories are traditional and long-lived by people throughout the years. Some people like being scared, others just like to see there friends scared or maybe other people just enjoy ghost stories for the thrill of being frightened by the supernatural and being wary when turning your bedroom light off that the ghost could be watching you. Ghost stories still remain popular. They are now on televisions all around the world as well as at the cinema where people go, buy and box of popcorn and a drink and prepare to be entertained. Both pieces - "The Signalman" and "Draculas Guest" - were set in the Victorian era. ...read more.

Middle

A few paragraphs into the story it says, "Every now and then the horses seemed to throw up their heads and sniffed suspiciously." He is suggesting something is going on and animals' instinct and awareness has noticed it. This makes us think that something is going on as the narrator has picked up on something that could suggest danger. The characters show fear and doubt in the signalman that was a common thing in the Victorian era. The signalman seems to be overtaken by fear. He feels that everyone is against him and is suspicious of the narrator when he addresses him. As the story continues and the narrator and signalman talk to each other they still seem wary of each other, but the signalman then seems to slowly open up, possibly because he needs to share his fears with someone as it is driving him mad. He fears the occult and these strange happening were things that the Victorians believed did happen in the world, many of them were convinced spiritualism was real. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens seems to use an unusual setting for his ghost story but I feel it is still a good setting that he uses well to encompass fear and relate the story to Victorian concerns. It says, "A vague vibration in the earth and air - a violent pulsation - oncoming rush - vapour" This is suggesting the train is like a shaking monster and appeals to the Victorian unease concerning modernization. The narrator in the Signalman also describes the place as a "Great Dungeon" like being trapped in a dungeon, which is related with torture and horror and you can't escape it. Stoker sets his story in more traditionally spooky surroundings. Johann and the horses both act strangely to the environment and you can tell that the surroundings play a major part in bringing fear into the story. The weather changes in tandem with the mood of the story and the surroundings generally sum up the mood and amount of danger in a certain situation. I thought both stories did well to encompass more than just the supernatural and I feel they have dealt with the theme of fear very well. I rated both the stories evenly and I enjoyed reading and analyzing them. ...read more.

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