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"The signal man" and "The withered arm" both create mystery, intrigue and suspense effectively. Consider the methods used by Dickens and hardy to arouse the interest of the reader. Which story did you prefer?

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"The signal man" and "The withered arm" both create mystery, intrigue and suspense effectively. Consider the methods used by Dickens and hardy to arouse the interest of the reader. Which story did you prefer? In your answer you should consider: Narrative Style Setting Plot Context Today in the 21st century we are well used to entertainment that includes horror, suspense and intrigue, although it is now usually in films and it seems to be a good alternative to books. Horror films are becoming more and more popular and recent statistics prove this, the most popular films today are chilling and psychological thrillers. What makes these films so good? It may be because of the special effects, the storylines, the music or perhaps just the whole package. Can a good story have the same effect as a good film? "The signal man," and, "the withered arm," are very similar but also very different. Both stories include death, spectres, premonitions, and both contain a lot of suspense and mystery. The writers use different ways to create different effects. Charles dickens was born in 1812 in Portsmouth, England. He was educated for a total of four years in two different schools. On the ninth of June 1865, while returning from France, dickens was involved in the "Staplehurst" train crash. He had a lucky escape as his was the only 1st class carriage not to plunge off a bridge that was being repaired. He spent time helping the wounded and dying before rescuers arrived. ...read more.


Dickens holds the suspense well, as he only describes the spectre very vaguely. This keeps the reader interested and intrigued by the fact they know very little about the spectre. I found that the signal man, the spectre and even the narrator, were very mysterious in some points throughout the story. Dickens has made it hard for the reader to establish who is the main mysterious character. The next story, "The withered arm," also includes a type of spectre, but the story is an awful lot different from the, "the signal man." The two spectres from the two stories are actually a lot different. The ghost in the withered arm is described much more vividly than the one in, "the signal man." This story was wrote by Thomas Hardy, and is set in Wessex, England back in the early 1800's. In this story Hardy writes about community life in a very rural setting. This story is full of hatred, jealousy, regret and vanity; this makes it a very interesting story. The title, "the withered arm," ha connotations of death, evil and sickness. This gives you the initial impression of the story; at the start of the story it seems very pleasant and changes your first impression completely. As you read on, you realise that the first impression was correct. Thomas Hardy wrote a lot about social injustice, rural life and explored male - female relationships. This short story seems to incorporate all of these. Hardy also didn't believe in god; so therefore may have believed in the supernatural, and witchcraft. ...read more.


But you are still unsure about his character. The story seems to have a delayed climax; we never find out what or whom Gertrude saw in the egg, this creates mystery and suspense. It is suggested that Rhoda is a witch when she and Gertrude go to see Conjurer Trendle; how did she know about him? Does she believe in magic? I found that the fact that conjurer Trendle used an egg to see what happened was quite weird, although I think that it ties in well with the rural country setting. I found the ending to be very shocking, and quick. The fact that Gertrude died, it says, "she never made it home alive," The boy died and then the father," farmer lodge," dies makes the story end in a sad shocking way. I think that hardy ends this story too quickly although I think that the way that it leaves you uninformed about a few things. It never actually tells you what the incubus was, was the ghost a metaphor for how Gertrude was crushing Rhoda's life. The fact that the boy and Gertrude died was very shocking, as it all seemed to happen very suddenly. In essence, I found that both stories have good qualities but I think that, "The signal man," was slightly more interesting than, "The Withered Arm." I personally found that, "the signal man," was better as it was kept short and seemed a lot more intense. On the other hand though, "the withered arm," was good as everything was described in extreme detail and it include different settings. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jordan McComb ...read more.

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