The Signal Man

Topics: Charles Dickens, Victorian era, The Reader Pages: 4 (1511 words) Published: June 17, 2010
The Signal-man
How does Charles Dickens use the ghost story genre to provoke fear in both the Victorian and modern reader of the Signalman?

The Signal-Man is a ghost story from Pre 1914’s written by Charles Dickens it shows the difference of the fear that a Victorian reader would feel compared to what a modern reader would feel. The Signal-man projects the ghost story genre very well due to the fact that a ghost story is not supposed to be scary. A ghost story is just meant to play with the readers mind and allow the emotions of the reader to give the story the scary and creepy feeling that is needed. The story’s main focus is the new arrival of the locomotive which most Victorians found quite off putting as well as scary. Where as in the modern day we use them as if they have been around forever and in our minds they have. Ghost story’s are normally set in everyday places or wide open areas where you would never ever expect anything to go wrong. Which adds a more unusual feeling to the story. Creating affects on both a Victorian reader and a Modern reader as well as the Victorian reader being much more superstitious about the afterlife than the modern so the theme of ghost is going to be amplified because of this fear.

The opening of the story starts with a piece of dialogue “Halloa! Below there!” so strait away the reader now wants to find out who this comment has been shouted to and why. The setting at the start of the story is the narrator up high above a vigorously steep cutting that the newly introduced locomotives would travel through and the bottom is a small signal box. The narrator is in fact calling to a man who is standing outside the small signal box who when called to seemed not to look up to the narrator but up and down the railway line. The unusual act is now most likely to start to get the readers mind thinking about what’s to come later on in the story an if this strange act will be linked later on. The mans figure is described as fore...
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