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The story takes place in an extremely deep, unusually precipitous, unnatural looking cutting which has a zigzag path leading down to it. From the bottom only a narrow strip of sky can be viewed and an entrance of a dark, mysterious and gloomy tunnel.

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Introduction

The story takes place in an extremely deep, unusually precipitous, unnatural looking cutting which has a zigzag path leading down to it. From the bottom only a narrow strip of sky can be viewed and an entrance of a dark, mysterious and gloomy tunnel. The traveller sees the signalman as a dark sallow man with a dark beard and bushy eyebrows. The traveller is quite daunted by the signalman and finds it difficult to initially address him. The traveller also has the thought that the signalman may be some kind of ghost himself. He also initially believed that the signalman might have been mentally deranged; "I have speculated since, whether there may have been infection in his mind". The traveller believes the signalman to be well educated or he has an inclination to such an effect. ...read more.

Middle

The traveller never actually sets eyes upon the spectre the signalman relays a detailed account upon him; not of the spectres appearance but of its mysterious, extraordinary, perplexing behaviour of ringing the bell in the signalman's hut and then appearing at the entrance to the train tunnel and crying out 'for god's sake clear the way' immediately proceeding the occurrence of a horrific, deadly event The spectre is a haunting vision of acute irony. It is a warning to the signalman about his own vulnerable mortality. Though whether it is real or just the concoction of the signalman's irrational mind is truly a mystery. The irony of the spectre is that the signalman truly believes that it is a warning to the occurrence of horrific events and not to him-self. As when he hears the message for real he believes it is a warning form the spectre and for this he pays the ultimate price; he is knocked down by a train and killed. ...read more.

Conclusion

This can result in a story with a tendency to, go on for too long and therefore become boring. The ending of the signalman is one of bitter irony; the signalman is thrust into the jaws of death at the moment when he might finally be liberated from his grim life of horror and uncertainty. The traveller has decided that he is compelled to ensure the signalman visits a discreet medical practitioner who will help him with his impending problem, the traveller believes is caused by an illness of the mind. "I ultimately resolved to offer to accompany him (otherwise keeping his secret for the present) to the wisest medical practitioner we could hear of in those parts, and to take his opinion". The traveller is utterly mesmerized by the disturbing, ghostly coincidence of the preceding events and their link to the signalman's ultimate downfall. ...read more.

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