• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Signalman by Charles Dickens and Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

WIDER READING Comparison of 20th century and Pre-2oth century short texts By Kyra Hale From studying The Signalman by Charles Dickens and Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl, you can see noticeable differences between Pre-20th century and 20th century texts. Charles Dickens and Roald Dahl were both influential writers in their time; this is why I have chosen to study them. It's interesting to discuss differences between content, style and language in the stories. There are also major historical and cultural differences originating from the time difference at which they were written. The beginnings of the two stories are totally contrasting. In The Signalman the setting is described intricately though the reader is left baffled. We know that something strange is going to happen, since words like "Steep, trench, angry, violent, pulsation, rapid and clammy" warn us that we have "left the natural world". We learn from when the Signalman looks "down the line" instead of towards the sound that something peculiar is going on. All these elements contribute to the suspense of the story. Lamb to the Slaughter is different; the setting is tranquil, cosy and harmonious, there is nothing mysterious at all. The home seems idyllic as it is "warm and clean" with the "curtains drawn". ...read more.

Middle

The narrator felt "daunted" and "stepped back" when the Signalman spoke, as if he is afraid. Suspense is used to keep the reader interested and The Signalman certainly achieves this aim. There is a climactic build up towards the end when the Signalman tells his traumatic story of the deaths he's viewed, as "if it came, on those two occasions, only to prepare me that its warnings were true, and so to prepare me for the third." Dickens draws us into the story by making us feel the Signalman's torment; he knows there is going to be an accident but he can't warn anyone because he doesn't know what to warn them of, and he feels people would "displace" him from his job. As we see everything through the Signalman's eyes, we see his worry and feel his "feverish distress" about the future, which lures the reader to read more. Towards the end, we know that something "treacherous" is going to happen. Dickens causes immense suspense by the intricate descriptions of the railway and "the nameless horror" that we know is going to happen but he plays with time to make us wait to reveal the ending. In many of Dickens stories, he likes to play around with people's minds, a prime example is Great Expectations which starts with the uneasy setting of the churchyard and the thought that the convict could seriously harm Pip. ...read more.

Conclusion

As well as this Dickens uses the supernatural theme to be engaging. In Lamb to the Slaughter Dahl also makes a point about modern technology. The detectives were gullible, they think if they "get the weapon, and you've got the man". Here Dahl is being humorous to enlighten a serious atmosphere. They are looking for stereotypes. The detectives are just following routine, looking for the stereotypical weapon like a "big spanner" and the stereotypical coldhearted male killer. In the 19th century the reader liked to see people locked up, so that you are working alongside the detectives, but here we are working with the murderer, scheming with her. The detectives have all the modern technology, fingerprints experts, photographers, detectives, but they still couldn't find the murder weapon as "the murder weapon is probably right underneath our noses". In both stories there are violent deaths. Both also have a central character who is "out of their mind". The Signalman is psychologically disturbed by his strange experiences, whereas Mrs.Maloney acts totally out of character because her life has been turned upside down. Despite the time difference, the stories have certain elements in common. Certainly, both are intriguing and capture the reader's interest. However, Dahl shows that to write a good story, you don't have to follow the written law for the mystery genre as he disobeys all conventional methods. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Roald Dahl section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Roald Dahl essays

  1. Captain Murderer By Charles Dickens

    She asked the same question. "What kind of pie is this," he killed her chopped her into piece and sent her to the bakers. But whilst this was happening the other sister was watching his every footstep. So she needed revenge.

  2. Compare The Signalman by Charles Dickens and Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl. ...

    We get the idea that Patrick has something on his mind because of his attitude towards Mary. He keeps giving her one word answers to her questions and ends up losing his temper with her "Sit down just for one minute sit down."

  1. The stories which I have chosen to explain how the writers keep the reader ...

    17 years old, he was wearing a new navy blue overcoat, a new brown tribly hat and a new brown suit" this makes him seem much more mature for his age.

  2. Compare the two stories 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' ...

    also is more interesting as we try to work out who is the murderer and how they killed the person, but in Lamb to the Slaughter we knew that Mary killed her husband and the only suspense was if the detectives will work out that Mary killed him.

  1. Comparing and Contrasting Three Fear Stories

    Inside it is cosy, warm and welcoming. This makes the old woman seem nice and harmless. But the stuffed animals still hint that it is sinister. Billy the victim thought that 'it would be a pretty decent place' to stay in after seeing the inside.

  2. Comparing 'Captain Murderer' by Dickens and 'Lamb to the slaughter' by Dahl.

    A lamb religiously is a symbol of innocence, and a lamb going to the slaughter suggests that the lamb is unaware of its fate. In 'Captain Murderer' Dickens describes his characters as we would expect to hear them from a fairytale.

  1. Compare and contrast The Signalman and A Lamb To The Slaughter

    Fresh ice cubes in the Thermos Bucket." Suspense is introduced when Mr Maloney comes home from work. Mary greets him with 'Hullo darling!' and he replies with a simple 'Hullo'. This makes us wonder if there are any problems between the couple.

  2. A comparison between Roald Dahl's

    From the first few pages we can tell how Holmes' is more cunning and observative than Watson because of the way her can tell exactly how the young woman arrived at Holmes' house. The woman tells Holmes' about how her sister has been murdered and how there was a "Speckled Band" around her neck.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work