Comparing The Signalman by Dickens and The Withered Arm by Hardy Essay

Comparing The Signalman by Dickens and The Withered Arm by Hardy Essay

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Comparing The Signalman by Dickens and The Withered Arm by Hardy

'The Signalman' and 'The Withered Arm', are two short stories showing
supernatural events. Authors, Dickens, and Hardy intrigue readers by
using certain techniques. These techniques add suspense and mystery to
the story, which makes the reader, want to read further on.

The openings in both narratives begin with a short dialogue. The
dialogue in 'The Signalman' begins with the narrator talking to the
Signalman: "Halloa! Below there!" This throws the readers into action
and engages them into the story. It introduces them to the characters.

The setting of the place is one of an eerie atmosphere. It hints that
something unnatural and ominous will occur. The setting is described
as a dreary and hostile place. It creates an image of a dangerous and
"barbarous place".

The opening of 'The Signalman leaves the readers engrossed in the
story by creating a mysterious plot. In the opening, we are introduced
to the two characters. The characters remain nameless which ties the
reader into the plot and therefore makes the reader thrilled, wanting
to find out about the identities of the characters. From the outset of
the story, Dickens creates a sense of mystery that startles readers.
The strange behaviour of the Signalman creates tension and raises
mysterious questions such as, why is he behaving in an unusual way?

The opening of 'The Withered Arm, is written in such a way to engage
the reader from the beginning of the story. Like 'The Signalman', 'The
Withered Arm' aims to throw the reader into action by using dialogue.
Thomas Hardy uses dialogue between employees who are work...


... middle of paper ...


...s
are expected to make a decision for themselves whether they believe in
the existence of the supernatural. Whereas in 'The Withered Arm', the
death of Gertrude shows that, she is killed by a remedy and shows that
it is an unexplained event. Both of these events are unexplained which
shows that they are similar to each other and the question of
supernatural powers arises. Readers are left to make up their own mind
about whether they want to believe in the existence of the
supernatural or whether they choose not to. These stories are both
different. 'The Signalman' is a ghost story and the atmosphere and the
ghost figures reveal this. This tells readers instantly that
supernatural events are likely to occur. However, 'The Withered Arm',
is set in a calm atmosphere so readers do not expect mysterious events
to occur.

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