Creating Atmosphere in The Signalman

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How Charles Dickens creates atmosphere in The Signalman Charles Dickens is renowned for his unusual narrative structure and his ability to include his readers within the story. 'The Signalman' is no exception to this. Whilst reading the text I found it easy to relate to and determine the specific scenario, this is relative to escapism. Because the 'Signalman' is fictional the reader can escape to the periodic settings. Dickens created this suspension of disbelief through premonitions and semantic fields. A premonition is a link within the narrative; Dickens used this when the signalman had remembrance of a similar tragedy on the railway line. 'Within six hours after the appearance, the memorable accident on this line happened'. 'Signalman killed this morning, sir' The first quote is used from when the signalman was telling the man about the initial accident. And the second extract is the train workmen telling the same man that the signalman has died. This is a premonition reference because this is the second time the man has been apprised of death. Another significant premonition within 'The Signalman' is the representation of the extract, 'Halloa Below there' This was used at the start of the narrative, when the man and the signalman first met. And again used at the end when the train driver was shouting towards the signalman before he was killed. Significantly this cohesive link was directed at the signalman both times, which became a haunting reference to death. These premonitions also became apparent to the reader, which is again identified as a reference to death. This could also have been used to influence the reader of the text to develop a subjective opinion to the outcome of the story. Dickens used his unique style of writing to create the atmosphere he wanted from each specific scene. 'I saw him at the end, like as if I saw him down a perspective-glass' This metaphor is used to emphasise the distance between the two men, and that the storyteller can easily identify the signalman but sees him in an unreal way. 'It was made through a clammy stone, that became oozier and wetter as I went down.' This semantic field of dampness is used to illustrate the scene for the purpose of the audience to relate to the narrative. As a passive reader this extract portrays a true representation of a gloomy, dark, natural but weathered path. This also shows evidence of first person narrative structure. Dickens used this narrative structure to symbolise him as the character, and to illustrate him as the storyteller. This includes the reader, because Dickens interacts with them in telling the story to the individual. 'perhaps educated above his station' 'if he is so clever, why is he a signalman'
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