A Comparison of 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The Ostler' by Wilkie Collins

A Comparison of 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The Ostler' by Wilkie Collins

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A Comparison of 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The Ostler' by Wilkie Collins


Both The Signalman and The Ostler are Victorian ghost stories, the
signalman being written by Charles Dickens in 1866, and the ostler
being written in 1855 by Wilkie Collins. Both these stories were
relatively scary at the time of which they were wrote (The 19th
Century.)

Both writers create suspense in their stories by using a certain type
of narrative, descriptive and organisational conventions such as in
the beginning, they both have someone narrating it without the reader
knowing who it is. The oster mentions murder, and the signalman has
someone shouting, “Halloa! Below there!” Both of these examples create
suspense. They are also set in the dark, and with hardly anyone
around, this creating mystery, as mysterious things are more likely to
happen in the dark. The main characters in the stories are haunted by
ghosts and picked on as targets, making them interesting. The
supernatural appear in both of these stories, the signalman using the
spectre, which appears to be his cause of death, and the ostler using
a witch. Both of the endings in these stories are unexpected, the
signalman has a twist at the end, it lead up to just another ordinary
day, but then “Signalman killed this morning, sir” is clearly not what
the reader expected to happen, very good for creating suspense, makes
the reader want to read on to find who or what killed him. The ostler
didn’t really have an ending; it ended with a sort of cliff hanger.
Suddenly ends with the narrator stating that his wife or the witch may
be looking for him, and then poses the question, “Who can t...


... middle of paper ...


...n is ended with a twist.
In the ostler Isaac is forever having his recurring dream or being
stabbed by a witch with a knife, he falls in love with his first, and
his last woman and she turns out to be the witch and does not stop
haunting him, at the end of the story the reader does not know if she
has stopped haunting him. And in the signalman it is quite ironic that
he and the narrator didn’t understand the warning signs of his death.

The spectre is more effective in terms of mystery and suspense I think
as it doesn’t spoil it and tell the reader what happens after, where
as the signalman does; it leaves you in wonder and wanting to find
out. Very effective I think.

But I prefer the signalman as it is less effective, I don’t really
like ghost stories that much and is not as much as a ghost story as
the ostler.

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