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Prose study of 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens,' The Superstitious Man's Story' by Thomas Hardy and 'Night Fears' by L.P. Hartley.

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Introduction

English Coursework Prose Study by Joanna Eglin. The three stories that I shall be looking at in this study are; ' The Signalman' by Charles Dickens,' The Superstitious Man's Story' by Thomas Hardy and 'Night Fears' by L.P. Hartley. The stories are all very similar in contex; they portray an atmosphere of tension and suspense. I shall be looking at the different ways in which the characters and stories develop. The first story I shall be looking at is 'The Signalman.' In this story, the narrator is in fact the author Charles Dickens. From the beginning of the story, the setting is of great importance. The fact that none of the characters is named makes the setting stand out more. The story is set in the nineteenth century and takes place, in and around a deep railway cutting. The cutting is described as 'Clammy stone' and being 'Extremely deep and precipitous.' Dickens description gives the impression of a damp, isolated and inaccessible place to be. The narrator is standing at the top of the cutting, described as 'It became oozier and wetter as I went down.' ...read more.

Middle

I found this story to be more of a psychological study, than an actual ghost story. The second story I shall be looking at is 'The Superstitious Man's Story.' It is centred on a small village, which is set in the West Country. A lot of dialect is used throughout and is evident from the very first line. 'The Superstitious Man's Story,' which is set partly indoors and partly outdoors, though the actual setting, plays little relevance, unlike in 'The Signalman.' It is also relevant from the first paragraph that this is going to be a ghost story. 'You could feel when he came near 'ee,' there seemed to be something clammy in the air.' All these quotes represent tension and suspense. There are many characters in this story, each adding something to the plot. Although the characters all seem to know one another and are an important aspect to the story, the important thing in the story is what happens, not who it actually happens to. The main character in the story is William Privett. He is described as a 'Curious, silent man,' it is also said when he came ' near'ee, you felt clammy,' also 'as if a cellar door was being closed by your elbow.' ...read more.

Conclusion

He never returned.Right up to the very end, the stranger seems to be a figment of the night watchmans imagination. However, the mention of footsteps in the text, reveal otherwise. The night watchman I feel commited suicide at the end of the story, I think because the stranger was playing with his mind, though because the story, has a twist to it, the death could have happened in numerous ways. I found this to be a psychological study than an actual ghost story. Out of the three stories I have looked at, I found,' The Signalman' the most exhilarating. I could not help but notice, that the story has a somewhat modern sentiment, even though it was clearly, wrote in the nineteenth century. Charles Dickens used a wide range of vocabulary, which created the setting marvellously and kept the reader in suspense to the very end. I found 'The Superstitious Man's Story,' used quite complex language, which made the story difficult to follow. I found 'Night Fears,' easy to read, as the language and vocabulary used throughout this text, was more simplex. However, I thought the author to be of a much lower calibre, than Charles Dickens. All the stories created tention and suspense, and added an unexpected twist at the end. ...read more.

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