Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy are both two writers that are renowned for their stories of mystery, suspense and intrigue.
Their stories have an ability to hold the reader within the story using imagery, atmosphere and tension. Charles Dickens the author of many well-known stories such as Oliver Twist and Our Mutual Friend, Dickens output was enormous. ‘The Signalman’ is a very intense, dark and enigmatic story that features the supernatural and testing language.
From the very begging Dickens sets up the atmosphere using the first few pages to build up a specific type of imagery. ‘A steep cutting’ and ‘saturnine’ which means dark and gloomy is almost the first word in the story and they set up how the place where the signal man is located is a pretty secluded place and in a valley.Also at the start it is about the setting of the actual signalman and what he is like. The line ‘and had been as a boy a poor hand at figures’ which means as a boy he was not very good with numbers. Also it talks about him being ‘above the station’ and ‘incongruity in such wise’ which is talking about him being beyond what is required to be a signalman but at the same time a mismatch between him and his job.Dickens uses a ‘spectre’ as a focus for the thoughts of the reader as it gets the reader thinking about the significance of the apparition and the connection of it between the accidents on the railway line the Signalman.
Another good use of the spectre is the way it appears more than one time and only the signal man sees it, this makes it sound like the signal man is going demented.All the way through the story Charles Dickens does not use bland words to describe words but he uses very impacting words like ‘instantaneously’ and ‘confounding’ which makes the story a lot more interesting than it would be with words like abruptly and calm.Thomas Hardy is another great writer of his time he wrote many great stories. As with Dickens story of ‘The Signalman’ Hardy story of ‘The withered arm set up the feeling of the location of the story unlike the dismal setting of the ‘The Signalman’ the withered arm is set in the country on a dairy farm.
Language all the way through the story is not a more formal one but one of a more local dialect because a lot of the words are regional. I think he did this to make the reader be more consumed with the charters than just the story, as well it brings the reader closer to the place where the story is set. ‘He do best’ is an example of the local west country dialect.At the time when Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy were writing these story’s the belief of the supernatural was very real.
The supernatural is very clear in both stories because in ‘The Signalman’ there is the spectre and in the withered arm there is an incubus that causes the main part of the story to start with it visiting Rhoda in her dreams on that night. The theme of the paranormal is a great one to because it has fascinated readers for centuries.