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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.

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  • Essay length: 1164 words
  • Submitted: 25/02/2004
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GCSE The Signalman

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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. Dickens then says "even though his figure was foreshortened and shadowed, down in the

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