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The Signalman

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Chris Burford 27-10-01 Comparisons In the landlady after Billy has left the train station he does not have any verbal contact with any other characters this really highlights the fact that he is alone in an area he doesn't know, therefore generating emotions of uncertainty, gullibility and isolation. We benefit from this because we don't feel thrown in at the deep end. The mood is quiet and the area appears as being quite dead; we are given this impression because of the way the buildings are described. We can also assume that it is dark as we are told that it is late. The Signalman starts with immediate speech " halloa below there" and then launches into a stream of description relative to the signal man himself and the basic surroundings " his figure was foreshortened and shadowed as I made my way into the dark trench" The signalman is considered to be rather peculiar "he could not have doubted from which quarter the voice came" and he still looks around and down the line as if he were expecting it to here it from somewhere else. ...read more.


For example the signalman and his hallucinations and the landlady and the way she supposedly kills and stuffs all of her guests, the idea of which is actually quite ridiculous. The authors both seem to be pointing out that we should always be aware of what is going on around us and not to be naive. Roald Dahl uses Billy's naivety to draw the reader into his situation so the reader can see the trap that Billy is falling into and be able to think "No!! Don't do that" The Signalman is a very weary kind of person who is suspicious of the narrator. He is also very knowledgeable of his work and gives the impression of knowing it off by heart. He acts in a very peculiar fashion and the way he positions his arms when he first speaks to the narrator is as if he is expecting someone else and is observing him. The Landlady, when Billy met her, seemed very overly friendly. Although Billy noticed it, he chose to ignore it, which would appear to have been the wrong decision. There was also something in the way she spoke. ...read more.


Neither of the two stories ended in the way I expected them to. I imagined both of them would have come to a solid conclusion, whereas The Landlady was left unsolved and we were left to our own assumptions. I did not expect the signalman to die. Therefore I found it quite surprising, especially when we discover that the gesticulation and words that the spectre was presenting were in fact the manoeuvres that the driver of the train used in the signalman's death. I considered this to be the scariest point of the story as I felt that the signalman was haunted by his own death. I preferred The Signalman overall as it came to a clear ending and there was a lot to look for and notice about the way the settings were described and I also found it more eerie than The Landlady as a person did actually appear to be haunted and did eventually die. I felt quite aggravated in a way by The Landlady due to the fact that it did not come to a clear conclusion, as I would have liked to have known what eventually happened. ...read more.

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