• 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; 'The Battler' by Ernest Hemingway - In what way do the two authors create and maintain interest and suspense in their stories?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'The Signalman', by Charles Dickens; 'The Battler' by Ernest Hemingway - In what way do the two authors create and maintain interest and suspense in their stories? In Charles Dickens' 'The Signalman' the story starts by introducing the main character (a railway signalman). Another character is also introduced: the narrator. Dickens describes the signalman as a 'dark sallow man' and as having a 'dark beard' and 'heavy eyebrows'. It seems that Dickens wishes to portray the signalman as a dark and ominous figure. However, he then sheds some light on the character of the signalman. Dickens portrays him to be very lonely and afraid of something. This is shown in the way he 'turns himself about and looked down the Line' when the narrator calls to him. It is as if he is expecting something unusual. The narrator is obviously telling the story and almost introduces himself to be a very curious and helpful character. Dickens gives us no physical description of him, but we are told that he is a retired man who is interested in new technology: like the railway. So I imagined him as being of Middle Class status and intelligent. It seems he has the time to be interested in the new technologies of the time, almost like a hobby. From some of the things he says and does in the story, Dickens gives the impression that he is not a very perceptive person. For example, the very opening line is 'Halloa! Below there!' This is what the narrator calls to the signalman. He does not understand that this may be starling to the signalman on a solitary railway line and that is why he does not reply. ...read more.

Middle

Also, because Hemingway has him as a young teenager he is somewhat vulnerable: like the signalman was in Dickens' story. The way Hemingway describes Nick's appearance - he looks to have been beaten up: his 'pants were torn and the skin was barked. His hands were scraped and there were sand and cinders driven up under his nails'. This adds to the feeling that he is vulnerable. Hemingway uses a dark forest as the setting for the meeting between the two characters. This is similar to Dickens in that he used a deep and dark railway cutting; Hemmingway describes it as 'dark and a long way from anywhere'. The language used by Hemmingway indicates that it is an ominous place; one, which you would not want to be lost in. He repeats that it is 'dark' and 'black' the same way Dickens did with the railway cutting. The forest seems remote and mysterious; it is near a 'ghostly swamp'. There is a sense of urgency about Nick. Hemingway tells us that 'he must get to somewhere', it seems it does not matter where. When Nick finally meets the character, it seems he is more like the narrator in Dickens' story. He comes across as a man who looked to be alone. 'He was sitting there with his head in his hands looking at the fire.' Hemingway uses repetition of the word 'fire' to create a scene of tension. This is quite an intense image. Hemingway repeats it (the man sat there looking into the fire') a second time to make sure the reader forms a good mental picture. ...read more.

Conclusion

The relationship is strange because usually black people hated whites (at that time). This tells us that Bugs must get something out of their being together, for example: there were certain things that blacks were not allowed to do, so maybe anything Bugs could not do Ad would either get him into that place or do that thing for him. Hemingway is showing his moral standings on two points here. One of colour prejudice: he believes that the American stereotype of black people was wrong. In 'The Signalman', Charles Dickens explores human nature more than the ethics of a situation. I think the point of Dickens' work is to illustrate the point that new technology and science have a definite place in the new industrial world, but there will always be an element of the supernatural. Both writers explore slightly differing points, but both use the same basic techniques and effects to get their massage across. They create suspense, maintain it until a point and then let it go in a climax of excitement for the reader. However, their techniques of interesting the reader again slightly differ. For example, Charles Dickens uses complex metaphors when describing the setting: 'a crooked prolongation of this great dungeon'; 'barbarous air', which was popular at the time. Even the grammatical and linguistic usage by Dickens is far superior to Hemingway. Dickens uses colons, semi-colons etc, whereas Hemingway rarely uses anything like that. Hemingway draws on very few alternative words. For example, the word 'said' is used to tell us who is speaking: 'Nick said', 'said Ad', 'Bugs said'. This is done to suite his audience (the working class). Although the two authors have quite opposing styles, they both use relatively the same techniques when it comes to creating and maintaining suspense. ...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 does Charles Dickens create suspense and fear in 'The Signalman?'

    The reader would identify more tension when the signalman 'directed a most curious look towards the red light'; once again, his behaviour seems quite odd. The reader wonders what is so important about the red light 'as if something was missing'.

  2. How Does Charles Dickens Create Suspense in The Signalman?

    Any normal person would look upwards in response to this. Again Dickens is creating the unexplainable which builds up the tension and suspense. At this time we don't know who either of the men is. We know it is a ghost story so which one if any is the ghost.

  1. How does Dickens's retain the interest of the reader in "A Madman's Manuscript"?

    The first structure is the start of the story followed by the remaining three in that order. There are four main points in the play which fit with the structure of the play as followed; how he hates madness, then he loves madness and gets married, he decides his wife

  2. “The Signalman,” by Charles Dickens

    It seems as if the signalman has been hurt by someone in the past, and so therefore is being very, if not over protective of himself, his belongings and his life that he leads and once lead. Then the signalman decides to confide in the narrator, "I believe I used

  1. Discuss the effectiveness of the ghost stories by Dickens, Hughes and Rhys. Show some ...

    The ghost in this story is the woman's conscience not allowing her to believe what she has done. Also, there is a reversal of roles in this story whereby there is the woman killing the man as oppose to the man killing the woman which is what usually occurs.

  2. Free essay

    How does Dickens create suspense in The Signalman(TM)?

    Furthermore, the tunnel's architecture is described as being "massive". This powerful word adds strength to the three adjectives that follow. This word portrays images of something great; something powerful, something enormous and something that makes man feel small and cowardly in comparison. As we read on through the description we realise that this great architecture is not great and powerful in a positive way.

  1. Examine the ways in which Charles Dickens builds suspense in 'The Signalman'

    This is followed by another reference to the supernatural. When the visitor describes the feeling of cold wind rushing through the tunnel he says it is, 'as if I had left the natural world.' Dickens' constant mentions of the ghostly alarm readers and set the outline of the story.

  2. The Signalman has an unsuspected ending. Explore the way in which the writer builds ...

    This makes you think that he is not used to being in the company of others, making it hard for him to know how to act around others as he never see anyone else. Also, the word "dismal" makes it obvious that the cutting is a dark depressing place, just like the signalman's personality.

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