Mystery and Menace in Black Veil and Signal Man Essay

Mystery and Menace in Black Veil and Signal Man Essay

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Compare how Dickens creates a sense of mystery and menace in the
‘Black Veil’ and the ‘Signal Man’. Explain how he uses these theories
to explore his theme?

The opening of both stories are quite different. The Black Veil is
written in the third person and The Signal man is written in the first
person narrative. The Black Veil creates an atmosphere of cosiness and
warmth which is created by the items of clothing which are worn by the
doctor. ‘reposing in his dressing gown and slippers’ The atmosphere is
also created by pleasant thoughts as the doctor thinks of his native
place and dearest friends. ‘Then his mind reverted to his annual
Christmas visit to his native place and dearest friends’. There is
also a contrast within the story of the Black Veil negative against
positive for example Death and life or Squalid and cosy etc. In
contrast the Signal man’s opening draws great attention to the
audience. "Halloa! Bellow there!" Immediately there is an element of
mystery, the Signal man looks down the line instead of where the sound
is coming from. ‘he turned about, and looked down the line.’

We are then acquainted with the characters and introduced to the
problem at hand. In the Black Veil the characters are appealing
whereas in the Signal man Dickens makes the characters less appealing
so we can focus on the problem. The Doctor is portrayed as a
optimistic man who does not dwell on gloomy thoughts. ’If he could
only tell her that he had found a patient at last, and hoped to have
more’. The doctors is also compassionate towards the woman in the
Black Veil. ‘Are you i...

... middle of paper ...

...thout any friends or money and had
denied herself comforts for her son but her son did not seem to care
about the suffering his mother had endured for him and his welfare
became fixated on this woman’s mind which drove her to insanity in the
same way the figure appearing to the signal man drove him to insanity
as well. The story ends on an uplifting note. The doctor visited this
woman everyday and supported her financially. At last when the woman
died her last breath uttered a prayer for this doctor. ‘That prayer
flew to heaven and was heard’, and the doctor was blessed throughout
his life. Dickens leaves us with a moral If you are charitable then
you will be rewarded later in life from heaven for your good deeds.
One of the main purposes of this story is to awake the readers social
conscious by being aware of people who are less fortunate than

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