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GCSE: The Signalman

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  1. The Signalman

    The writer uses personification to describe the sunset at the day the narrator met the signalman as "an angry sunset" which might give the readers an idea to show the arrival of doom in the latter part of the story. This could also be done to create the set up for the horrific part of the story. The writer describes the vibration on the surface when the train passed by through the tunnel as "vague vibration" shows that this was different kind of vibration and that of an usual and an unclear one.

    • Word count: 735
  2. How is mystery and suspense built up through "The Signalman" and "The Red Room"

    Wells uses this feature immediately in the opening paragraph: "I can assure you", instantly the readers' knowledge is clouded as to what is being said. The reader does not know what there is to be "assure" of. This builds an air of mystery as the reader is from the outset wondering and will continue to wonder what the sentence means. This forces the reader to speculate upon what the characters are saying and thus, builds more mystery in the mind of the reader.

    • Word count: 2801
  3. An evil man deserving of his punishment. Is this an adequate account of the events from A confession found in a prison or does Dickens challenge the expectations of his 19th Century audience?

    The fact that that he feared her is displayed when the protagonist says, "I was afraid of her; she haunted; her fixed and steady look comes back upon me now, like the morning of a dark dream". This disturbs him because it seems like she knew as much about him as he did. The protagonist thinks his sister-in-law was looking at him constantly but this may have been his paranoia alternatively she may have been looking at him because of his odd behaviour, but because the reader only gets one point of view on the matter they can only see one reason for her looking at him.

    • Word count: 1053
  4. How does the author create suspense in the red room

    In Wells 'Red Room' his narrator is also an arrogant and smug personality who after his ironic occurrence in the 'Red Room' has also reflected on what just happened to him, and how he might have lost his life. Including what haunts the 'Red Room' which he attributes to the fear which is associated with the 'Red Room'. 'Fear! Fear that will not have light nor sound that will not bear with reason' this makes the reader take notice to the possible tragedy and the possibility of the alternate conclusions that were possible.

    • Word count: 1618
  5. Pre-1914 Prose: The Red Room Compared by H.G Wells compared to The Signalman by Charles Dickens

    Both these stories use similar techniques to keep the readers interested, for example, chilling descriptions and mysterious events. Both use tension and suspense to illustrate the narrators' fear by building things up slowly and giving away clues before the climax. The Red Room begins by capturing the reader's attention by starting with the narrator saying 'I can assure you that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me.' This gives us almost confirmation that there will be some kind of ghost later in the story. 'The Signalman' also begins with speech, but it is the mysterious behaviour of the Signalman who looks the wrong way when called to which gets the attention.

    • Word count: 1459
  6. Charles Dickens The Signalman. a) Based upon Massaud Moiss definition, we can affirm The Signalman, by Charles Dickens, belongs to the Gothic Fiction genre.

    Therefore, the presence of the supernatural is vivid all along the narrative. In fact, it is the very theme of the story, although the investigative narrator kept rationalizationing that the strange facts the signalman had seen were a result of some mental illness, the outcome of the narrative revealed they were not. Even if we considered the outcome as a result of a growing illness in the signalman's mind there are too many coincidences that points out supernatural facts. "The nameless horror that oppressed me, passed in a moment, for in a moment I saw that this appearance of a man was a man indeed..."

    • Word count: 1036
  7. Charles Dickins the signal man

    The beginning of "The Signalman" is an unconventional but effective one. Dickens has begun the story with dialogue from the narrator. It begins with two exclamatory sentences that instantaneously grab the reader's attention, "Halloa! Bellow there!" This unconventional choice is clever, as it leaves a sense of the unknown to the story, meaning that the reader doesn't really know where they are or what is really going on. It would be normal for a ghost story to start with a descriptive piece on the setting and characters, but by leaving this until later Dickens has already captured the fear of the unknown and suspense in the reader.

    • Word count: 2696
  8. The Signalman and The Yellow Wall Paper

    The narrator then heads down towards a dark tunnel where the signalman is situated, and describes it as a 'great dungeon'. Immediately, an eerie atmosphere is set here, as the place is dark and isolated - both common features of a typical horror story. As the narrator arrives to the 'dungeon', Dickens repeats the word 'gloomy': once on the 'gloomy red light', and then again to describe the 'gloomier entrance to a black tunnel'. This is highly effective as it is a significant omen to the readers that something dreadful is about to happen.

    • Word count: 2147
  9. How is fear created in the reader in 'The Signalman'?

    So little sunlight ever found its way to this spot, that it had a deadly smell...it struck to chill me, as if I had left the natural world" Similarly to the Red Room, the signalman's post is very dark and there is hardly any light. This is a typical piece of gothic imagery, the fight between light and darkness, which can also be conveyed by the fight between good and evil. Also the smell makes the atmosphere seem more terrible, and forbidding.

    • Word count: 999
  10. How do the writers of 'The Red Room' and 'The Signalman' create fear and tension in the reader?

    In 'The Red Room' the setting is in a castle, which is very old. Throughout the castle there are passages that have features such as sconces, long corridors, spiral staircases etc. Perhaps the most distinguishing gothic feature of the story is its prominent use of the supernatural. In horror stories, the supernatural is portrayed through common entities such as ghost and monsters. The idea of including any reference to the supernatural is imperative in any horror story and in 'The Red Room', the reader is made to question the incidents of the candles being simultaneously blown out.

    • Word count: 3613
  11. Free essay

    How does Dickens create suspense in The Signalman(TM)?

    Dickens uses the setting to form suspense by using a combination of powerful and sinister imagery. The narrator is describing the tunnel where the signalman's hut is situated, 'in whose massive architecture there was a barbarous, depressing and forbidding air'. As well as being negative, the three adjectives that Dickens chose are very sinister. The words 'forbidding' and 'depressing' are heavily associated with sadness and despair. The word "barbarous" adds an evil and dark element to the description. Images of death, deceit and pain are conjured within the reader.

    • Word count: 1357
  12. Examine the ways in which Charles Dickens builds suspense in 'The Signalman'

    Particularly interesting in the opening, is the way that the paranormal is introduced, through the visitor's description of the train passing. He says that he feels an 'oncoming rush' and then says that this rush caused him to move backwards, 'as though it had force to bring me down.' Obviously it couldn't bring him down into the cutting below, but he must have felt some kind of power try to. The train is described as if it is something to be feared, possibly hinting the danger that the train later becomes.

    • Word count: 4892
  13. How do Dickens and W.W. Jacobs create a strong sense of dramatic tension in their short stories The Signalman and The Monkey(TM)s Paw?

    At the beginning of the Signalman the narrator and the Signalman also have a misunderstanding as the narrator calls down to the signalman; however the signalman is quite clueless. The narrator is to later find out that the signalman possibly thought of it as being a ghost that has been bothering him for a while now and therefore failed to reply. There is a powerful sense of friction and discomfort between the two characters. This shows that the characters do not understand each other too well.

    • Word count: 1575
  14. How do Dickens and Gaskell use language to create setting and atmosphere?

    The "angry sunset" and the "barbarous, depressing, and forbidding air" in The Signalman all reflect the narrator's feelings. The "sunset" may be a bad omen as to it may imply that night and danger is approaching. And the personification of the air, making it sounds like it has feelings may be referring to a desperate and unfriendly person, which may be death. Dickens put three three-syllabic words together to emphasize the unpleasant feeling the narrator has and influences the atmosphere to make the reader feel the same. And in The Old Nurse's Story, "the sky hung heavy and black over the white earth, as if the night had never fully gone away, and the air, though still was

    • Word count: 909
  15. The Old Nurse(TM)s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Signalman by Charles Dickens; what have you noticed about the narrative technique used in these ghost stories?

    This makes her seem more realistic to us, but it's as if Charles Dickens has given the narrator of The Signalman no identity. The reasons for both narrators being so caring is that firstly, Hester goes out of her way to protect Miss Rosamond even though she is not blood related nor family, but she does love Miss Rosamond and think of her as family. Secondly, the narrator of The Signalman goes and talks to the signalman and listens to his thoughts and problems, although he is a complete stranger.

    • Word count: 2123
  16. Explore the genre of mystery in the Signal, the red room, the monkey's paw and napoleon and the spectre

    The contrast in The Signalman between the rational, technological world is expressed through trains, education, references to medical practises and the verbose, over articulate narrator. Evidence of this over exaggerate language is, "I perused the fixed eyes and the saturnine face." The Signalman is also mentioned as 'educated,' which means he cannot be dismissed as a 'half whit.' These strange events now have more resonance. Similarly in 'The Red Room,' the narrator is extremely complacent. He reveals the old generation as not competent, which mirrors their thoughts.

    • Word count: 1909
  17. Examine how the theme of isolation and the supernatural are explored in 'The signalman', 'The Superstitious mans story' and 'The Dream Woman'

    This was what the job would have been like for an isolated signalman of this time period. In this story it eventually leads up his break down and to his own death. Secondly 'The Superstitious man's story' uses superstition and the thoughts of the reader to make their views of the character differ as the story continues. The reader is made to feel that this person has a very lonely and isolated character. Firstly the story makes the audience feel that he is a loner who has a mysterious sense about him. This makes the audience feel he is a bad character.

    • Word count: 1610
  18. How do Dickens and W .W. Jacobs create dramatic tension in their short stories the signalman and the monkeys paw?

    This technique helps build tension by making the characters seem real like the audience. Another technique both writer use is the credibility of threat. This is where the writers make the threat and tension in the story sound believable. This makes the reader think that what has just happened to the characters is scary and could happen to them. This is used very well in the signalman where the train crashes and people are run over. This actually could and did happen in those times and shows a flaw in the latest technology proving that nothing is safe.

    • Word count: 901
  19. Time Stood Still by William Stanley

    Whilst reading this short story, through out the whole episode of fighting for survival, the fireman does not show any emotion or feelings toward the situation that is being handed over to him. He does not express his emotions in any particular way at all, he expresses he's gratitude for his victory by simply saying "we had been lucky" (paragraph.13) gives us the impression that he modestly is not afraid, this act may come from being a fire fighter. His feeling are hidden up inside, even his home does not give much affect to him, as London is being bombed and his neighbors are dying each night, he keeps his head clear.

    • Word count: 982
  20. "The short story is the ideal form for writers who want to create a sense of horror and suspense." Discuss how horror and suspense are created in "The Moonlit Road" by Ambrose Pierce and "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens.

    And having a third sighting creates horror and suspense which is caused by the signalman asking "What does the spectre mean?" Finally on the third visit, it is easy to see how the third appearance is significant as the narrator finds the signalman has died because of a crash on the railway line. We read that the train driver was waving his arm and signaling to the signalman as if to say "For God's sake, clear the way!" The train driver does not actually say these words, but it is the signalman's interpretation of the train driver himself which creates horror.

    • Word count: 3199
  21. Short Stories Essay

    The rural population found themselves moving into the cities to find work. This meant factory owners paid their employees very little and expected them to work long, tiring hours. Unsuitable working conditions lead to people demanding better conditions. Working conditions improved as well as health care. As time went by factory schools began being built and some children were allowed to be educated basic literacy and numeracy. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the importance of reading was perceived only in terms of the moral education. By the mid 1800's, reading became a lot more valued and helped individuals learn for themselves.

    • Word count: 1579
  22. The Judges House and The Signalman Comparison

    First of all, the judge's house has a very weird sort of setting. It is set in a large, old house with high windows and tall walls, basically a very stereotypical sort of house for a mystery story. However this decrepit house is situated in the middle of a community, with a wide array of people and vehicles there. This sort of area you would expect to be safe, however this could have given Malcolm Malcolmson, the protagonist, a false sense of security as the house has high walls isolating it from the rest of the community.

    • Word count: 2330
  23. Analysis of The Red Room and The Signalman

    The narrator then tells him to just concentrate on his job, and that's what he does even when the narrator is screaming at him to move away from the line before he is run over by the train. The Red Room builds up tension by using sound, colour, language, characters and sentence structure. H.G. Wells uses colour to describe the characters in vivid detail he shows this by 'Hung pale and pink from his decaying yellow teeth.' By using this quote the characters get described intensely which includes more tension as maybe the characters are dangerous.

    • Word count: 1638
  24. What Method's do the writers use in order to create mood, atmosphere and character in the short stories you have studied?

    The story starts with a man in an old house, talking to three old people about a haunted room. At the beginning the man dislikes the old people but by the end of the story he can relate to them. The opening is one of the most important parts of the whole story. It sets the mood for the rest of the story. All of the stories that I have read have a very sinister opening. The Red Room and The Signalman both begin with somebody talking. This sends you straight into the story. In The Monkey's Paw it seems quite happy in the household but in The Signalman it sends it straight into the main part of the story and is quite unpleasant at the beginning.

    • Word count: 1630

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Both The Signalman and The Darkness Out There have unexpected endings. Compare the way tension is built up in both stories so that the reader is surprised by how the stories end.

    "The writer cleverly build up tension by making you think tat the signalman is a ghost. Because this is what the narrator says and it is all the information we have so we must therefore also come to the same conclusion. It is only after the first few paragraphs that we are told about the environment "His post was in as solitary and dismal place as I ever saw" Because of this sentence we begin to know a little about the signalman, he is a lonely man by his surroundings. We then get a very detailed account of his surrounding using words like Dungeon to describe the cutting in which the signalman's box is. The writer adds tension by making the narrator wait until the next evening until he begins talk to the signalman again, also because of the fact that he asked to meet him during the evening instead of during the day. As the narrator meets the signalman more and more he begins to find out about what is troubling him. He is seeing ghosts. This now makes the story a horror. When the narrator comes to visit the signalman on the last time he finds out that he is dead. Even more strange the man saw his own death."

  • Compare ""The Signalman"" by Charles Dickens and ""The Darkness Out There"" by Penelope Lively. Show

    "Also I enjoyed the subtlety of the clues such as how danger was drawing closer to the signalman, and the use of a mystery traveller to help lead the story along. I think it was the more interesting out of the two and has a controversial ending unlike "The Darkness out There". This is because I found it very linear and I thought there was no real tension or surprise as today's morals and views all suggest what Mrs Rutter did was wrong, and everyone one would realise it. The two stories build up suspicion and tension in similar ways by having the audience asking questions, which is a very effective tool to build up tension. Also both stories have contrast, "The Signalman" shows it between the world above and the world below, and "The Darkness Out There" between light and dark. However they do differ in some areas, "The Darkness Out There" concentrates on psychology, and the idea that we judge and stereotype on appearances. "The Signalman" however has little moral to the story and is rather self-explanatory in the psychological sense. The difference between the attitudes of the stories could be explained, as through time people's p"

  • Compare and Contrast ways in which the supernatural is conveyed and used to maintain the reader's interest in 'The Signal Man' and 'The Red Room' - Refer to any other nineteenth century stories you have read.

    "In conclusion, the writers use many ways in which to create suspense in the stories, be they delaying the action, withholding vital pieces of information or even misleading the reader, these all create suspense in their own way. They are used very effectively in both of these short stories, and although the ending of 'The Red Room' is slightly disappointing, it only shows us just how much suspense has been created by Wells, as we are frustrated that this good story has such a disappointing ending. However both writers effectively create suspense in the two stories, compelling us to read the next page."

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