• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What Makes The Signalman An Effective Mystery Story?

Extracts from this document...


What Makes The Signalman An Effective Mystery Story ? The setting of the story creates a mysterious feeling from the start. Early on in the story Dickens begins building up the tension, the opening line says "Halloa! Below there!" this gets us immediately into the story showing us we must be follow the story carefully to understand it. This also gets the reader-asking questions like who is saying this? And whom are they speaking to? We are given an eerie description of the cutting area; we are also given an indication that there may be something wrong with the figure at the bottom of the cutting. When the narrator calls down to the figure there is no response by the figure this leads us to believe there is something more to the man. Dickens portrayal of the cutting and the tunnel is very detailed for example Zigzag and Gloomy. These words give the reader an image of the tunnel and cutting, resulting in the reader feeling involved. Dickens describes the area as "as if I had left the natural world" this tells us that there supernatural undertones running through the story. ...read more.


On page 108 we learn more about the signalman he is actually well educated and even attempts to teach himself whilst he is in the box. We learn the signalman used to be a student of natural philosophy. But then we ask ourselves the question Why would should a highly qualified man be working in a menial job? We can also see how all the meetings take place within the cutting at night is so none of the tension is lost? If the pair where to meet on a hot summers day there wouldn't be the same eerie feeling. In a later conversation between the two the signalman says, "I am troubled sir, I am troubled". This conversation continues on the second visit when the signalman's outburst is explained. We are given vivid descriptions of the spectre's actions, this is when the narrator learns why his shouting had such an effect on the man. Throughout the story there is a flow of tension and we are often led into a false sense of security like when dickens starts the sentence "next evening was a lovely evening, and I walked out early to enjoy it" this gives us hope that the story might end happily. ...read more.


The third visit is the final visit the narrator makes and is also when he discovers the tragic death. When the narrator arrives he can see there is something wrong there where crowds of men and a tent positioned next to the imposing track and tunnel the narrator inquires at the situation and is shocked to discover the death. This is where the story unravels and tie's together we find out how Tom shouts the exact same words the narrator called on his first visit. This is when the reader is left to make their own decisions as to what was going through the signalman's head. And the narrator is left thinking if he had told the signalman's superiors this problem could have been averted perhaps being treacherous would have saved a life. Summary The title of the essay was "What Makes The Signalman An Effective Mystery Story?" I feel all the points I have discussed are needed in a mystery story in order to produce an effective mystery. I feel the ending is the key part to the story because it is unexplained and leaves us tense and unsettled with many questions unanswered. William Hollis 10RAF 20/01/03 English Coursework Mrs Baker ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Signalman section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Signalman essays

  1. Pro Studies Coursework

    fear of the dark by how he reacts to it by frantically relighting matches over and over again. During the story Wells creates a sense of reality as in some aspects of the story the reader can relate to what is happening to the character as he is more afraid

  2. Prose English

    Parkes believes that rats did this to Stephen; this is because rats are commonly associated with a phobia and evil. Rats are described as ''...evil vermin....'', this is the opposite of the goodness in a heart with the evil in a phobia or creature - though the rats also have hearts showing they are not all evil.

  1. Explain what makes a good mystery story, based on your understanding of 'The Red ...

    The house is described as the typical haunted house. We immediately associate it with danger. This is Doyle's intention. Doyle uses a lot of characters in his tale. They immediately come across as the conventional detective story characters. Holmes is the detective.

  2. How effective do you find

    This emphasis of "NOT" by Dickens is a very effective technique in highlighting the signalman's preoccupations and strangeness about him it develops and sustains the tension built previously. Dickens then shows that curiosity of the narrator, by him posing constant questions at the signalman with hurriedness.

  1. Pre 1900 Prose.

    'He pointed at the red light he had looked at.' "There?" 'Yes.' Another very significant clue is when the signalman believes that the bell is ringing when it is not and then looks out towards the red light. Here we can see that this is a sign of the spectre, only noticeable on a subsequent reading.

  2. How do 19th Century authors employ horror, mystery and surprise in their work?

    Even without the horror, the mystery alone would be enough to be effective. But, when the author incorporates the horror into the story, not only is he keeping the reader puzzled, but he is also making the reader afraid. When an author can make the reader feel like this, then the elements of the story have been used effectively.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work