Charles Dickens, a most accomplished writer, has ended “The Signalman” in a most remarkable and memorable way.
This extract is of the end of the story. Previously, the narrator had been confided in by a most peculiar man, the Signalman, who in the narrator’s opinion is suffering from hallucinations. He claims to see an apparition which has proved to be a bad omen by bringing about two unnerving incidents, which in both cases had involved death. During the past week it had often appeared, according to the Signalman, who was puzzled by what this appearance foretold this third time. At this point in the story, the narrator is on his way for the third visit to his friend, the Signalman.
This makes you question if something supernatural did in fact exist.
Foreshadowing the impending remorse, the red light is referred to by the narrator as the “danger light”. The narrator immediately looks at the light, after witnessing the group of men. He expects the light to be switched on, thus confirming his growing fear that something was not right but yet again, the absence of the danger- alerting light deceives the reader into thinking that all is well, when it is not. Again the element of surprise is put to good use. The author seems to be confusing the reader, telling them it’s alright whereas their gut feeling says otherwise. This rare instance where the author and reader come into conflict makes the story much more interesting.
Very powerful adjectives presenting a touch of alliteration create yet another unforgettable feeling. The narrator’s feelings are described as “flashing self-reproachful fear”. These words emphasize the incredible magnitude to which his dread had risen to. The alliteration of the “f” sound makes the description catchy and unforgettable.
The asking of the narrator for evidence that the man who was killed was in fact the man he knew, gives the readers hope that perhaps the author’s opposition might prove to be true and that in fact it is some other man who had the misfortune of being hit by the train. This further twist and addition of confusion is very impressive...