Compare the signal man by Charles Dickens and if she bends, she

Compare the signal man by Charles Dickens and if she bends, she

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Compare the signal man by Charles Dickens and if she bends, she
breaks by John Gordon


In my essay I intend to compare the similarities and differences of
many aspects of 2 short stories. "The signal man" a pre 20th century
story by Charles Dickens and "If she bends she breaks" a post 20th
century story. By John Gordon.

They are naturally different because of their age. The signal man is
pre20th century and is typical of the style of story from that era. If
she bends she breaks is post 20th century so it has more modern words
and is aimed at a younger audience.

The stories themselves are similar in that they are both macarbre
ghost stories.

The title to every story gives the first impression and can give clues
as to what the topic of the story is or what will happen.The signal
man is a plain boring title thay does not make people wish to read
it.If she bends she breaks on the other hand is an unusual title , it
is mysterious and makes you want to read on. But a good title does not
necessarily mean a good story. I found the signal man was a much
better short story where as if she bends she breaks seemed a better
title but it is aimed at young children, is a pretty boring story and
the plot is easy to pick up, early in the story. The signal man is a
boring title but it lets you know what the story is about without
giving away the plot. If she bends she breaks is a very intersting
title and you only know what it means when you've read the story so it
is very effective.

But "if she bends has an unusual title, it makes you want to read it,
and only when you read it do you find out what, "if she bends she
breakss" mean.

"if she bends" title, was very good, the story was not as good, in
contrast it was the opposite for "the signal man", it had a plain
title, but a good story.

Beginings and settings
The beginning of the signal man, creates an atmoshpere of the
supernatural by, its settings.

The settings in the signal man, are descibe by dickens as very dark,
solitary, and dismal place, "his post was in as solitary and dismal
place", meaing that the signal was all alone, in a very dark, and
boring place, which is a typical setting for a ghost story

He discribes it as being "a great dungeon" dark, cold, scary, and
horrible this gives the reader the sense of pain and torture.

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"Compare the signal man by Charles Dickens and if she bends, she." 28 Jan 2020

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In contrast the start of if she bends she breaks creates the sense of
the super natural at the beginning of the story, the narrator says
that ben had been felling strange, the story itself is strange because
of its settings, it is set in a school during the day, it is light,
and bright, in a busy place which most ghost storys are not.

Ben "could remember nothing" meaning that something must have happened
to make him forget everything

Dickens uses certain words and images to set the atmoshpere, such as
the language used, it is very old fashioned, long words, some which
are unkown without the aid of a dictionary.

On the other hand, gordon chooses a modern style of lanuage, easier
for young children to understand

Both stories have some common features that they share, they both
repeat information about certain things in the story; the signal man
mentions the red light many times, making the reader think that there
is something sinister about this red light, ans in if she bends she
breaks, the ice is constantly mentioned, and how dangerous it is,
these constant reminders of these things, means that our expectations
our, that something will happen, involving, in the signal man, the red
light, and in if she bends, the ice.

Although, both the storys beginings are different, because, Dickens'
story starts with speech, but Gordon's starts with narration.

Gordon introduces the main character striaght away in his story and
tells us that there is something strange about him, "ben had felt
strange". We get the feeling something strnage has happend to ben
already because he cannot remember anything, "he could remember
nothing beyond it", "yesterday was only a haze" and "he did not know
whether it was morning or afternoon".

Dickens story is mor descriptive and thegives us a hint that something
unatural will happen by, the dark dismal and solatary settings that
dickens discribes the signals staion post as being, he is all alone so
and could be vuneralble, until the stranger comes along.

For the rest of if she bends she breaks we wonder what is wrong with
ben and what has happen on the ice, because the ice is spectre and is
mentioned so many times, it makes us feel that the ice is a big part
of this story,and something bad will happen with the ice, and,
something bad has already happen with the ice.

Similary, even thought a spectre is mentioned in the signal man, we
are still unsure how things will end, because of te many other things
that happen in the story, like the stranger, why is he there, and why
is the signal man scared of him.

Dickens uses this story to portrey his thoughts about the industrial
revolution, it is known that dickens was not a fan, and this story
seems to back that idea, because it trys to get people scared of the


both of the storys contain a central character who is "out of there
mind" for various reasons, the signal man, because he is acting in a
strange way and in 'if she bends', ben feels strange and cannot
remember what has happen to him.

Ben changes over the course o the story, because even thought his cass
friends are ignoring him for some reason, he meets a new kid.

On the other hand, the signal man is unsettled from the strat and
throughtout because of the redlight and all the bad accidents that
happen when it comes on.

The chracters hav many differences, the signal man is alive until the
end of the story, where as ben thinks he is alive but finds out he is
a ghost at the end of the story.

Both storys are similar because the main charecter has some one they
are talking to, the signal man talks to the strange, and ben talks to
the new kid.


whilst the "signal man" is written in 1st and 3rd person, "if she
bends" is written in 3rd person. This is because "if she bends" is
mainly narrtion and speach, there is no writting as if you are ben, 1st

Where as the "signal man" is written in both, becase it has narattion,
3rd person, and you also read the story as if u where the stranger in
the story.

The effect of this is that, you tend to feel that you are the stranger
in "signal man" and that helps u imagine the signal man as being

Gordan's story is post-twentieth century, and Dickens' is
pre-twentieth century this is obvious because of the type of writing,
and the style of writing. It uses longer words, which hav been
outdated for a long time, and the way it is word is old fashioned too,
"when he herd a voice thus calling to him," when nowadays we would say
"he herd a voice calling him". "if she bends" is modern because it
uses modern ways of talking and it has smaller and easyier words, this
is because it is a childrens ghost story.


Both endings contain a twist, in "if she bends" it is that ben, turns
out to be a ghost, this is why every one is ignoring him. It turned
out that he had been killed when he fell throught the ice, this is
effective because it leaves the reader guessing why all the strange
thing at the begining happen, and only when you finish the story does
it become clear.

In "the signal man", the signal man is killed when he goes to see the
red light, he is killed by a trian.

These are suprising because, "if she bends" is a childs story, and a
ending like that would suprise a child, which makes it a very good

"the signal man"'s ending, was not scary to me, but during th time it
was written, would have been very scary to read.

The purposes of each of the storys is similar, they both try and warn
people of certain dangers, Dickens's wrote "the signal man" to show
people how dangerous the industrial revoution was and to try and stop
it, thought it didnt work, and Gordon wrote "if she bends" to warn
young children about playing on the ice, and how dangerous it can be.

Both storys leave the reader hanging as the story is cut short, this
is effective because if there was to be a second story, they would be
more likely to read it.


I preferred "the signal man" because eve thought "if she bends" had a
good ending, i had already figured out what would happen in the first
few pages, and "the signal man" ending was quite unexpected and the
story was very good.

I think that even though both were macabre storys, "the signal man"
was more typical, because it showed a very grusome death.
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