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The Signalman.

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Introduction

The Signalman. By Ryan Curtis The signalman is a supernatural story set in the 19th century. It is written by Charles Dickens. The story stars off with the narrator walking through fields, he then hears a train and so he walks towards where the sound is coming from. The narrator comes to a viaduct where he shouts, "halloa down there", waving his arm in front of his face at a man standing below. The narrator finds a path down into the viaduct and goes over to the signalman. The signalman asks the narrator if he has ever stood in the mouth of the tunnel because he saw a figure there sometime before waving his hands in front of his face just as the narrator had done. The two men get to know each other really well and the signalman tells the narrator of the two accidents that have happened on the railway line. ...read more.

Middle

When both men were in the signal box the bell went off but the narrator did not hear any sound or see any movement from the bell. The narrator tells the signalman that because of the two accidents he has witnessed it could have caused his mind to flip and to go mad. So he only thinks he sees a figure and hears the electric bell off. Could there be some supernatural truth to the story? Did the signalman really see the figure and hear the electric bell before each accident? At the end of the story when the signalman dies the train driver tells the train driver tells the narrator the words the signal man said the ghost had said whilst waving his hand. He then realises that there could really be a ghost or some kind of vision that made the signalman see into the future. Charles Dickens uses a lot of sentences containing old English like "One would have thought", or "Is there any path by which I can come down and speak to you?" ...read more.

Conclusion

Most of this story is set in the daytime, which does not create a spooky atmosphere. Charles Dickens still manages to create tension even though the story is quiet and has little action. The story does have a lot of mystery to it, for example why was the narrator walking through the fields in the first place and how did the signalman knows the statement said by the train driver? Did he really see a ghost in the tunnel or was it just a coincidence that they said the same thing? There is a bit of suspense at the end of the story when the signalman sees the figure 'ghost' and stands in the middle of the track, the train driver is whistling at him to move but he doesn't. At the same time the narrator is running toward the viaduct. So does the narrator fall into the train or does the signalman get killed? 'The signalman' shows how imagination plays a big part in lives. Charles Dickens has given the story a cliff hanger and so we are left to our own conclusions. ...read more.

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