Charles Dickens' The Signalman and A Birthday by Karen Mansfield

Powerful Essays
Charles Dickens' The Signalman and A Birthday by Karen Mansfield

A signalman is a short story written by Charles Dickens. This is a

story about a signalman who is driven “mad” by the environment of his

work, away from sunlight and people. But he was not alone; a

supernatural ghost decides to accompany him too. He has a lot of

responsibilities to shoulder.

There are only two characters that really are prominent in the short

story. In fact in the story, there are only about three to five

characters. The important characters are the signalman and the

narrator. Charles Dickens uses dialogue to make the characters more

appealing and easier to understand. He has written exactly what was

need to understand the story, nothing less or nothing more. The

characters are described physically briefly but Charles Dickens has

described their attitude, nature, thoughts and character to a great

deal. Through out ‘The Signalman’ the signalman’s name is not

mentioned which seems quite awkward. The signalman tells the narrator

about his worries and still they do not ask each other their names. It

seemed a little strange!

The signalman was troubled but it did not seem so if a person who

would have seen him for the first time and judged him by his

appearance. The signalman’s appearance described in the story as, “…he

was a dark sallow man, with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows.”

He seemed to look perfectly reasonable and normal but you should never

judge a book by its cover. You cannot tell his problems merely by his

appearance! (Proved by the short story)

The signalman is a very peculiar man. When the narrator called him

from the top of the steep cutting he did not seem to reply and walked

down the railway li...

... middle of paper ... short story is written by a woman it seems to be more

descriptive. If ‘A Birthday,’ and ‘A Signalman,’ were compared Andreas

Binzer’s character would be unquestionably more descriptive than that

of the signalman. Karen Mansfield described everything from his

teeth, attitude and nature in greater detail. Meanwhile, Charles

Dickens just wrote what was needed exactly.

The way people see each other seems to differ so drastically. In one

short story you try to understand a person’s problems and situation

whereas, the other shows how inconsiderate a person can be and still

be blessed with great people around them. I spent a long time writing

this essay and I believe that if I take the time I would really show

what people are like. It amazed me how realistic the characters in

these short stories are and that many people like those can be found

in the world.
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