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The Signalman has an unsuspected ending. Explore the way in which the writer builds up tension in the course of the story so that the reader is surmised to see how the story ends.

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Introduction

The Signalman has an unsuspected ending. Explore the way in which the writer builds up tension in the course of the story so that the reader is surmised to see how the story ends. "The Signalman" is a spooky, sardonic and peculiar story with twists and an ending that will shock and surprise you .The sense of death throughout the story adds a poky sense to make feel scared and traumatised. The suspense is built tremendously using an extensive range of character descriptions and vocabulary. This is what the author, Charles Dickens special quality is and he does this in many of his other novels. In "The Signalman" Dickens makes links to many other gothic fiction novels such as "Dracula" by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein". "The Signalman" builds tension just like "Dracula" using dark dingy atmospheric effects. Darkness is one of the main aspects of gothic fiction used in "The Signalman" for example in "Dracula" "the stairs were dark, being lit only by loopholes". Darkness adds a mysterious scary effect. Another aspect of gothic fiction used in "The Signalman", probably one of the most important aspects in this case, is supernatural forces. For example in the bone-crunching disturbing novel "The Haunted Hotel" the quote "The flesh of the face was gone. The shrivelled skin was darkened in hue, like the skin of an Egyptian mummy". ...read more.

Middle

The way the signalman ignored the narrator makes him seem like he is insulted and possibly angry. Also the way the signalman's movement is described makes him seem dull and robot-like. For example the phrase "he turned himself about" is repeated twice making it seem like a basic command, with purposeful lack of exciting vocabulary. He also had "fixed attention" at the narrator an odd robot like characteristic. The Cutting is a small apace of land through which runs a train line. This is the setting for the story, setting atmosphere and reflecting the characters personalities. The Cutting is a spooky and disturbing place which reflects the personality of the signalman. We know it's dull and disturbing through the quote "It was made through a clammy stone that became oozier and wetter as I went down". The eerie effect is created by Dickens distinctive choice of vocabulary; the word "clammy" has more effect than saying deep or slimy building tension with a scary feeling caused. Also the word "oozier" has more of a deep watery lake like effect which makes it seem mysterious. The Cutting is also in the middle of no-where, we know this because of the line "His post was in as solitary and dismal place a place as I ever saw", the word solitary means be seclude or by yourself . ...read more.

Conclusion

The reader should definitely know by now that yes something is troubling him, "What is your trouble? It is very difficult to impart, Sir. It is very difficult to speak of. If ever you make me another visit, I ill try to tell you". This is where you want to read on to see what happens, building tension until you find out. The delay between the two meetings makes you have to read on further to find out what happens, building tension by teasing the reader. Again building tension is achieved when the signalman asks the narrator about the words he used at the beginning of the story and if "they were conveyed to you in any supernatural way", this introduces a supernatural element in conversation. When the signalman tells the story he promised he shows no reluctance and gets into it straight away. He says "you should not have to ask twice what troubles me", it seems like whatever it is it is important and he needs and wants to tell the narrator. The phrase "Halloa below there!" from the begging is used twice in the signalman's story under the belief that it was said to him by some kind of supernatural force. That is why "Halloa below there" terrified the signalman. "The Signalman" has a strong element of death throughout the story. The first is the original train accident, for example the signalman said "the memorable accident on this line happened". The second death is a young girl, "a beautiful young lady had died instantaneously". ...read more.

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