The Signal-Man' Author: Charles Dickens Year: 1866.

Discussion in 'Fiction Writing' started by Domiree, May 29, 2019.

  1. Domiree

    Domiree Member

    he Story
    'The Signal-Man' (1866) is a short story by the English writer Charles Dickens (1812-1870). In the story, a practical-minded narrator meets a railway worker who has been seeing supernatural visions. The narrator doubts the man at first, but at the story's conclusion a strange event makes him a believer.

    Setting
    The entirety of 'The Signal-Man' takes place in a narrow gorge through which passes a railway line. At one end of the gorge is a dark tunnel from which trains emerge. Farther up the line is the hut where the signal-man works. His job is to communicate with other signal-men up and down the line and to warn the engineers of trains if there's some danger ahead on the tracks.

    Principal Characters
    The story has only three principal characters:

    • The Narrator: The story doesn't provide a great deal of biographical information about the narrator, but we know that he is intelligent and friendly and also that he is very practically-minded. Whenever the signal-man mentions some supernatural detail, the narrator thinks of a realistic explanation for it.
    • The Signal-Man: The signal-man is a late- to middle-aged individual who works alone in the narrow gorge. His age and solitude contribute to the narrator's skepticism about his supernatural visions.
    • The Ghost: As with many Charles Dickens stories, this one has a ghost. The ghost appears to the signal-man (and only the signal-man) at the mouth of the tunnel and waves his arm, as if to warn the signal-man to get out of the way of something.
     

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