• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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.

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Signalman section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Signalman essays

  1. Discuss the effectiveness of the ghost stories by Dickens, Hughes and Rhys. Show some ...

    answers to unanswerable things and it is when you cannot find answers that fear comes about. Dickens uses this and leaves questions in the air that cannot be answered, either by the reader or the narrator; it is this that gives the suspense and the fear of the story.

  2. Comparative Essay between "The Signalman" and "The Pit and the Pendulum"

    We are empowered to hear this in our minds because of Poe's detailed description, but above all, the most horrific thing about the pendulum is the time that it took to make it's way down. This was not mercifully swift, but a long, drawn out process as "days passed" before it came down.

  1. Short Stories Essay

    This story is written in chronological order and is a short story where lots of tension is created by the author; it is a mysterious story and has a clear beginning, middle and ending. The story is set in a dark setting, down by the railway line.

  2. Short, entertaining stories were extremely popular within the Victorian era, and a number of ...

    Within 'The Black Cottage', Collins has built up the tension in the middle of his adventure story, with many climaxes and anticlimaxes and continues to increase the tension as the tale draws to a close. Bessie reasons with herself, in order to directly inform the readers of what her next

  1. If you are setting this submission as

    wind in the wires all help to convey a feeling of suspense and tension. The story takes place in and around a deep railway cutting during the 19th century. The signals are controlled by sending telegraph signals up and down the line and communicated to the operator by a system of bells.

  2. Compare three Victorian Ghost Stories

    The reason that the signalman died is a train dragged him and the signalman did not hear the other man warning him. He said "Below there! Look out! Look! For God's sake clear the way!" The man then explained more on what happened. "Ah! It was a dreadful time, sir.

  1. In all of Flannery O'Connor's short stories, the theme of alienation is portrayed at ...

    He compares himself with a bird that can go anywhere it wishes. He sets himself as an outsider, possibly implying that he is a survivor. Yet he is morally corrupt along with most of Flannery O Connor's characters. We sympathise with Mr Shiftlett, as he seems alienated from the supernatural world.

  2. How important is the weddings guest to what you consider to be Coleridge's purposes ...

    The mariner puts his fear to rest with 'Fear not, thou wedding guest! This body dropt not down.' The repetition of 'fear' conveys that the Mariner felt being the only 'living' man on the ship'. Here Colerdige deliberately makes a Christian allegory here when the Mariner says he is the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work