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The Old Nurse(TM)s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Signalman by Charles Dickens; what have you noticed about the narrative technique used in these ghost stories?

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Introduction

The Old Nurse's Story by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Signalman by Charles Dickens; what have you noticed about the narrative technique used in these ghost stories? I have noticed that in The Old Nurse's Story and The Signalman the use of narrator is very important. In The old Nurse's Story the narrator is also a character which gives us a better insight into the tale and the fact that this character plays quite an important role gives us even better detail of the story. This character is a young woman named Hester, who has become the nursemaid to a young child called Miss Rosamond, whose parents have been killed. Hester becomes very attached to this child as she is very caring and loving towards Miss Rosamond and would do anything for her. "My heart sank at this, and I began to wish I had never left my darling". She is very emotionally involved in the story. Like Hester in The Old Nurse's Story, the narrator in The Signalman is a character in the story and is also quite a caring person. But unlike Hester, the narrator is never given a name or had real detail described about him, whereas the writer of The Old Nurse's Story has gone into great detail about Hester's character. ...read more.

Middle

It is also the case in The Signalman because it is set in the hillside where there is not much civilisation and seems to be forever ending. The great hall in The Old Nurse's Story has an organ which plays in stormy weather and this continues the sense of spookiness, while in The Signalman there is a sense of danger as at nights it is quiet, lonely and fogging. "We had sat listening for a while, and he ought to know something of the wind and wires- he who so often passed long winter nights there, alone and watching". There is also a red danger light that shines through the mist of the start of the tunnel. "There was the danger light. There was the dismal mouth of the tunnel". I have noticed that both writers create mysteries. Without them, both stories would not be as interesting. During The Old Nurse's Story many mysteries are built up such as the east wing being locked, the disappearance of Maude Furnivall, the organ playing on stormy nights and many others. Whereas in The Signalman, there are fewer mysteries compared to The Old Nurse's Story, but they are more in depth and are carried out till the end of the story. ...read more.

Conclusion

Because of this they had died out in the Fells due to the bitter cold. Miss Grace felt responsible for this. However, in The Signalman there is no moral but in the story, the idea of the first train crash came from the Clayton Tunnel crash fives years before Charles Dickens had written his story. I have noticed that at the end of The Old Nurse's Story all the mysteries have been solved but in The Signalman we are still left with unsolved mysteries such as who the narrator was, why did the hallucinatory figure lead to a death and why was it that the signalman died. The story I preferred was The Old Nurse's Story. This is because there was much more description, which made it seem more realistic along with Hester's description which made her seem real too. There was lots of detail in the story whereas in The Signalman there was not much detail about characters and it was more focused on the plot than anything else in the story as this is what the writer was trying to get across. But in The Old Nurse's Story the story seemed much more balanced. I also liked the way that in this story all the mysteries seemed to have been solved by the end but in The Signalman you are still left thinking. ...read more.

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