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The Signalman and The Vendetta Compared.

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The Signalman and The Vendetta Compared The Signalman and the Vendetta make use of the conventions of short story writing by using the minimum of characters and the descriptive detail applied to them is also minimal. In the Signalman there is no description at all paid to the signalman himself or the narrator. In the Vendetta there is a small amount of description about Widow Savereni "the old mother." At the start of the story she is named a "Widow" through out the story this gives us a little idea of what she is like. Superficially the widow comes across as a heartbroken, maternal woman but underneath she is a woman of her word, is very cunning and calculated her killing of her son's murderer to an exact detail. In the Signalman the main character is the signalman. You do not find out his name as it is irrelevant but you do find out that had a very good education and is troubled by the spectre and feels shut out from the world. ...read more.


In the Vendetta Maupassant doesn't spend that much time describing the murder of the widow's son Antoine or of Antoine himself. He doesn't even tell us whom, or why his murderer killed him. The Signalman' features a lonely train signalman who works in a signal box by a railway cutting. He has been visited by a "spectre" which appears just before a fatal accident takes place. The other main character, which is also the narrator, meets the signalman and is told of his sightings. They try to interpret the warnings of the ghostly figure. As the two develop a friendship, the narrator returns to the railway cutting to visit the signalman but finds that he has been killed in an accident that the ghost had warned about. In a way, the two stories are similar as their themes are based on the same topics: mystery, supernatural and the unknown. They both involve premonitions of fate and the future. In 'The Signalman', the narrator attracts the attention of the signalman by shouting "Halloa! ...read more.


The two authors also introduce the stories in different ways. Dickens opens the story with speech, the narrator shouts, "halloa! Below there!" This starts the story off quickly, as with the Vendetta that is concentrated over a period of weeks so the widow can prepare her "attack" on her son's murderer. Dickens uses a first person narrative style, while Maupassant's uses a third person narrative style. Dickens' style guides us through the plot as if we are there, closely speculating the events of the story. The following quote describes the cutting and demonstrates the effects of Dickens' narrative style well; "it was made through a clammy stone that became oozier and wetter as I went down". This allows us to feel as if we, ourselves, are descending down the "zigzag path". Although this is very realistic, this style has constraints; the narrator is unable to know what the other characters are feeling, he can only give his thoughts and feelings. This also adds to the mysterious atmosphere. Maupassant's narrative style means that The Vendetta is possibly not as vivid as The Signalman is, but the narrator is able to state what the character is thinking and feeling. David Hughes ...read more.

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