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The use of atmosphere in the Signalman.

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Introduction

One of the writers main tools in a story is the use of atmosphere. It sets the place, the general feelings of the characters and the feelings of the reader. The two writers that wrote the stories in this essay use a lot of techniques to mainly build on an atmosphere of tension and suspense. The first line of the "SignalMan" is, " 'Halloa! Below there!' ". The signalman looks away confused. As this is what the ghost had said the signalman is cautious about the source of it. This is the visitor. This already adds a tense atmosphere, as the signalman is afraid and cautious of the new visitor. You then find that the visitor is 'down the Line' which is where the ghost was. This makes the signalman even more cautious as there are two similarities of the visitor and the ghost. Though the reader does not know this yet. Dickens makes the visitor mysterious at first, "He looked up at me without replying, and I looked down at him without pressing him too soon with repetition of my idle question." The visitor also did not reply to the question when repeated in voice but only by his hands. The way the visitor is mysterious adds a lot of tension and still keeps the cautiousness of the visitor being the ghost. ...read more.

Middle

The visitor tries to ease the mind of the signalman by saying that no-one is ringing the bell and that its all in his head. This does not work as the signalman explains that only he can hear and see the ghost. The signalman gets worried as he knows that there is a danger but does not know what it is. This seems to increase tension and adds to the suspense as you are worried and excited about what the danger is. The reader is now anticipating another accident or incident. The signalman also realises that he cannot telegraph danger as he has no proof of it and this makes it even more tense. The author explains how the man is in "feverish distress" which emphasis the problem and helps to add to the tension and the suspense. Later on in the story, Dickens builds up the drama by showing a man at the mouth of the tunnel waving passionately. You suddenly remember the ghost that waved passionately and this causes a very tense feeling. There is now a lot of suspense as the visitor watches the man waving. This atmosphere does not stay for long as you find out that this is only a man imitating the incident. ...read more.

Conclusion

The enemies communicate with the uncle by slipping a piece of paper under the door which builds to the atmosphere by making it more tense. The uncle asks his servant to go outside while the enemy's are there and get to the Purcells. The way the servant is loyal to the uncle shows that he must of not been a bad master. This starts to give you an idea of another side of the uncle. Soon after this a cry is heard from outside, "A distant cry rang from out of the darkness, and then another one, short and sharp like the wail of the curlew." This suddenly adds to suspense. The uncle rushes outside to help the servant showing that he does not only think about himself. The sailors use this as a trick to get inside. Suddenly there is a tenser atmosphere as the sailors rush in. The writer emphasises the fear, "shivered with cold and with terror." Also when the uncle is killed the gruesome death adds a lot to the drama of the scene, "like the wrung neck of a chicken. The killing is a quick and merciful killing. It needed but a glance to see that his spine was broken and that he was dead." The writers for both these stories use certain techniques that gave the stories an atmosphere. They used a variety of adjectives, phrases and expressions to apply the certain mood the writer desires, ...read more.

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