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The Signalman

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The Signalman Dickens uses, and exploit's the culture around him in order to convince and draw the reader into the Signalman. The way in which he does this is through several techniques which build up suspense, tension, and mystery in The Signalman. The Signalman begins with a very brief description of the setting. The Narrator is beginning his journey of descent downwards. The use of language is chosen very carefully in order to achieve Dickens' desired effects on the reader. In particular to the text is the use of adjectives. These are used in order to create a sense of disturbing and supernatural. All these words build up a sense of apprehension. There is an immediate sense of the unknown. The first line in the story is "Halloa, below there!". ...read more.


As the story continues, we see the Signalman's character develop into a professional man. We find out he is a very educated man, but ran wild at university, thus being expelled. "A student of natural philosophy, and attended lectures, but had run wild, misused his opportunities, gone down and never risen again". We also find out he has other qualities, which are being reliable and dutiful. We see this when he stops in mid-sentence in order to carry out his duties on the line. "I observed him to be remarkably exact and vigilant, breaking of his discourse at a syllable, and remaining until what he had to do was done" This leads us to believe the Narrator became impressed and interested by the Signalman. Through the Signalman's haunting we can also see other sides of him. We see he has a lot of fear, of the haunting. ...read more.


As you can see, the style of writing is quite complicated and written in the familiar old fashioned Victorian style. Dickens use of adjectives to create a menacing and supernatural atmosphere is typical of ghost stories. The cutting which is overshadowed by trees leaving little light to shine through is described as a "dungeon" suggesting a claustrophobic and imprisoned atmosphere which is typical of a ghost story. Rarely are ghost stories set in wide sprawling open spaces and this is no exception. Dickens describes the tunnel as having a "gloomy" entrance and the actual tunnel itself being "black" and the signal box as "dismal". But he then goes onto describe the mouth of the tunnel as described as having "a barbarous, depressing and forbidding air" and then the narrator feels as though he had "left the natural world" like he had entered hell. Kasim Hassan ...read more.

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