Suspense - The Signal Man Essay

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Suspense - The Signal Man

The author of The Signal Man immediately creates suspense by using anonymous quotes, which gives a sense of mystery. Dickens begins by avoiding using terms that identify ownership, i.e. “When he heard a voice thus calling to him”.

The 2nd person in the story is the signal man, who at this point is acting in a very peculiar manner. This produces suspicion amongst the reader and thus generates interest or suspense.

Throughout the entire novel, Charles Dickens is using language that is very obviously uncomfortable, i.e. “Angry sunset”, or “Violent pulsation”. The characters are not described as very ordinary. The signal man is poor and not very knowledgeable whereas the visitor is wealthy,
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The signal man’s post is dark, dismal, and isolated. It is dark below, and light above. The exit up the rock walls is slimy, slippery, and difficult to traverse.
The scene greatly resembles hell.

When the protagonist begins to approach the signal man, the signal man acts as if he was expecting this visit. This generates anticipation within the reader.

Dickens uses repetition to great effect, causing alertness and confusion amongst the reader, and also draws attention to particular quotes, “Halloa, below there”, “Don’t call out”.

The signal man anticipates supernatural activity by use of foreshadowing, telling the visitor that he believes they have met in the past. At the same time, the signal man is being rather vague, which creates suspense and encourages the reader to learn more about the story.

Because the narrator is so vague, it causes the reader to use his or her imagination. This connects with the reader, which in turn makes the reader feel as though he or she is part of the story.

The reader does eventually discover the history, but not till some way into the tale. This delay is purposely used to keep the reader in suspense. A great notice should be made to the rational character. In most tales involving the supernatural, there will always be an entity that has rational explanations for everything. This seems to ruin the atmosphere by spoiling the mystery. However, in most tales involving
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