• 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, Explain How the Author Creates an Appropriate Atmosphere for His Ghost Story Through the Description of the Setting and His Expression and Use of Language.

Extracts from this document...


The main points in this story are the Signalman himself, the spectre that repeatedly appears to him, to seemingly give a vague indication of impending danger, the strange connection between the narrator's unspoken words and the spectre's gestures, and the foretold deaths on the Line. Naturally, Dickens will need to create an appropriate setting. The Signalman is a ghost story, so for the events in his story, he will need to create a somewhat mystical and eerie feeling, particularly at night when the spectre often appears, and he will need it to have a secluded feeling to give the impression that the Signalman is alone and so has to cope with the spectre and it's predictions in isolation. This adds to the "ghost story image". Dickens starts to set the scene immediately with a reference to the unusual setting, he writes "considering the nature of the ground" which suggests that it is not normal and "the steep cutting nearly over his head" which gives the image of a valley, shadowed by one or more steep banks, helping to portray a feeling of seclusion. ...read more.


"Halloa! Below!" when this phrase is repeated, it adds emphasis and makes it stand out, almost subconsciously, to the reader. Dickens says "considering the nature of the ground" and "the steep cutting nearly over his head" to set the basics of the scene, an unusual valley. Dickens then uses "foreshortened and shadowed" in describing the Signalman's figure to initially show that he seems dark and solitary. He then uses alliteration to enforce "down in the deep trench". The phrase "angry sunset" is used to add a fiery red light to his dark valley, which is shown with phrases such as "his figure was foreshortened and shadowed", and again adding an element of mystery because the narrator says "I had shaded my eyes with my hand before I saw him at all" to first of all, introduce the spectre's gesture, but also to give the impression that the light doesn't reach the valley, but skims the top and he has to block it out to see into the darkness, and by using the word "angry", he makes the sunlight seem almost intimidating in itself. ...read more.


So little sunlight ever found it's way to this spot, that it had an earthy deadly smell; and so much cold wind rushed through it, that it struck a chill to me, as if I had left the natural world" this again give is an unearthly, solitary and altogether haunting location, which Dickens adds to by saying "This was a lonesome post to occupy" and "a visitor was a rarity". At later points in the story, Dickens returns to this idea and comments on the Signalman's responsibilities but lack of actual physical work, and because he has so much responsibility, and the spectre's predictions are so vague, he is almost driven to insanity by the helplessness he feels, which is accented by the loneliness and solitude of his station. In conclusion, it is a multitude of factors, which amount to the ghostly setting of the story, each element important in one way or another. Everything from the wording of the speech and description of the valley, to the colour of the signalman's uniform. K.A.Hurdley Page 1 2407/05/2007 ...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 The Signalman 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 The Signalman essays

  1. How do Dickens and Gaskell use language to create setting and atmosphere?

    For example, in The Old Nurse's Story, the "branches dragged against the walls when the wind blew, and some hung broken down; for no one seemed to take much charge of the place;--to lop the wood, or to keep the moss-covered carriage-way in order" already created a chilling atmosphere since

  2. Explain what makes a good mystery story, based on your understanding of 'The Red ...

    Intrigue is built up when the clues are revealed in the bedroom we start to attempt to figure out who the murderer is and how he did it and there is a feeling that you have to find out which makes you read on.

  1. If you are setting this submission as

    darkness, and by using the word "angry", he makes the sunlight seem almost intimidating in itself. He first plants the idea of the Signalman not being all he seems, in the readers' minds when he says, as the Signalman looks down the Line, "There was something remarkable in his manner

  2. How does Charles Dickens create an appropriate atmosphere through description of the setting and ...

    From this depiction, the reader can easily visualise the setting. "...this great dungeon...terminating in a gloomy red light and a gloomier entrance to a black tunnel...there was a barbarous, depressing and forbidding air. So little sunlight ever found its way to this spot that it had an earthy, dead smell...as if I had left the natural world."

  1. Compare ""The Signalman"" by Charles Dickens and ""The Darkness Out There"" by Penelope Lively. Show

    are not given a pictorial image, but an emotional image of what Sandra feels when she walks past the wood. "When they were small, six and seven and eight they'd been scared stiff of Packers End. They hadn't known about the German plane.

  2. Compare and contrast Charles Dickens' "The Signalman" and Catherine Storrs' "Crossing Over" and say ...

    Both the train in Victorian times and the car today could be considered to be dangerous modes of transport. In this essay I will evaluate the features of both stories and conclude which one is the most effective ghost story.

  1. The use of atmosphere in the Signalman.

    Later on when we find out what is going on normal conversation is introduced and this changes the mood from being tense and there being a feeling of suspense. Dickens mentions the visitor's own uncomfortable feelings about a train, and his nervousness adds to the tension.

  2. Discuss how Charles Dickens creates an atmosphere ghost story.

    It makes you think, why should the signalman show any fear? After their conversation the man leaves and the signalman tells him that on his return journey not call out those words. "Halloa! Below there". It builds tension over what these words really mean to the signalman and why he is scared of them.

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