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The ways ‘The signalman’ and ‘The darkness is out there’ create tension

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Introduction

Introduction In this, essay I am going to look at the ways 'The signalman' and 'The darkness is out there' create tension. I will be sure to compare the two stories and talk about the differences they have to each other. In both story's, dreadful incidents happen involving death and unexpected endings. In the story 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens, the author visits an isolated signalman who is being haunted by a ghost. The ghost comes as a sign of tragic accidents. The ghost has appeared a third time. The disaster turns out to be the signalman's own death. The story was written in the 19th century. In 'The darkness is out there' by Penelope Lively, two young people go to visit what seems to be a lovely old lady. They soon see beneath this mirage when she tells them how she let a German airman die in The Second World War when his aircraft crashed in the nearby woods. They find out that everyone has a dark side and things are not as they seem to be on the surface. The story was written in the 20th century. The two authors, Charles Dickens and Penelope Lively, are experts at building tension. Lively, wrote the well-known story, 'The ghost of Thomas Kempe'. She then went on to write her first adult book and in 1987, she won The Booker Prize for 'Moon Tiger.' ...read more.

Middle

Dickens' story 'The Signalman' has many examples of different ways of building tension. The opening line; 'Halloa! Below there!', plunges us immediately into the story, telling us that we must be attentive in order to follow the story. It also makes our imagination start to ask questions, for example; who is saying this? Whom are they speaking to? The man he is shouting to below looks round to face the tunnel "Looked down the line". Any normal person would look upwards in response to this. Again, Dickens is creating the unexplainable, which builds up the tension and suspense. The ghosts repetitive behavior makes us feel anxious. The ghost always shouts, 'Halloa! Below there!' He waves his arm and covers his eyes. From first reading, it appears that the 'signalman' keeps to the dark, remote location as it is set in a cutting, where trains run through. The signalman works alone making his post a solitary one, he is rarely visited. "His post was in a solitary and dismal place as ever I saw." "So little sunlight ever found its way to this spot, that it had an earthy, deadly smell; and so much cold wind rushed through it, that it struck chill to me, as if I had left the natural world." The last quote tells us very much that this place is not natural and that he has entered an entirely different world. ...read more.

Conclusion

Below there' which had no significance in the beginning became so important that they were the result of the signalman's death. The stories aim was to scare me and provide entertainment. In my opinion, it fulfilled its aims. The twist at the end left me in shock, as it was not what I had expected. I think that the story tried to teach us to believe in ourselves, and what we think is right. 'The darkness is out there' had many lessons to teach us. I liked the way it lured me into a false security yet kept me on edge at the mention of Packers Wood. I found it interesting seeing what Mrs. Rutter did from her point of view. I saw how the propaganda influenced the English' view of the Germans at the time. We saw them as vermin, and thought nothing at killing them. This type of stereotyping and prejudice is seen in today's society. We are lead to believe that you must be 'skinny and beautiful' in order to be accepted by people. In the book 'Of Mice and men', we see examples of prejudice against Lenny, all because of his mental illness. Many people are prejudice at one time, and it is rarely told from the oppressors' point of view. Although from an educational point of view 'The Darkness is out there' is the best story, I think that I preferred 'The Signalman'. It was very tense and exciting. It sucked me in from the start and held me captive right until the end. ...read more.

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