It is revealed that the events that were involved in the signalman’s death were familiar to the events that occurred when the spectre appeared; the driver uses the same words and actions to warn the signalman that, according to the signalman’s description, the spectre used when he appeared. Therefore, we must assume that the signalman’s death occurred as a result of his paranoia distracting him from his work and the immediate danger. At this point the reader is shocked by the end result of the story, but they are also scared of becoming like the signalman.
Readers are worried that they could become just as paranoid, troubled and disturbed as the signalman if they were given the right incentive to do so. Readers worry that if a man like the signalman, who we discover was once an educated and respected man could become so troubled and paranoid because of an unseen and some what supernatural power, then surely they could to; and if so could the paranoia result in their tragic death. All of the stories I have commented on use the insanity of madness in an attempt to make the stories scary and frightening for readers.
However, the language and the techniques used also help in frightening and conveying madness to the reader. The use of first person in particular helps to convey the feeling of madness to the reader. Edgar Allan Poe uses first person to place you in the shoes of the madness itself. He uses first person in many of his short stories, including ‘The Angel of Old – An Extravaganza’, ‘The Business Man’, and ‘A Tale of Ragged Mountains’. In ‘The Tell Tale Heart’, Poe uses first person more frequently and more often than expected to create maddening voices inside the head of the reader.
By doing this he is involving the reader more and not only gives them an insight into the madness that is obvious in the story but to the madness that could lie within themselves. A good example of this technique in action takes place before and during the murderers attack in which Edgar Allan Poe uses the first person word ‘I’ sixteen times and constantly answers his own questions, therefore, the reader reading it begins to hear many voices within their head, giving them a taste of the madness that may be hidden within them.
Poe also uses the first person technique within ‘The Cask of Amontillado’. However, in this story, instead of creating voices within the reader’s head, he lets the reader see inside the murderer’s head so that you can see how clever and conniving he is in the events leading up to the murder itself. The best example of this is where Montressor reveals that there will be no attendants at home: ‘I had told them not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient; I well knew, to ensure their immediate disappearance… ‘ As at this point he is explaining to himself as well as the reader.
Charles Dickens also uses first person in many of his stories including ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘The Holly-Tree’. However, unlike Poe, Dickens uses first person in ‘The Signalman’ to place the reader in front of the madman, the signalman, so they can empathise with him. By putting the reader in the position of someone else apart from the madman himself, the readers can establish for themselves the extent of his madness and what they feel for him. This is used to great effect in ‘The Signalman’, especially when as the narrator leaves after his second visit.
During this time, he is struggling with his thoughts about what to do and so is the reader: ‘But what ran most through my mind was the consideration how I ought to act, having become a recipient of the disclosure? ‘ However, while he can’t decide what to do next, the readers contemplate their feelings for the signalman. In conclusion, I agree with the quote by Christie Gerrard that the fear factor of gothic horror comes from the realism; we all have the ability and the potential mindset to become the madman within the story.
I think that is why the books have remained frightening and popular; because although times and books change and develop new styles, human nature will always remain the same. Therefore, readers of any age and time will be scared of becoming the madman in the stories because we humans will always have the ability and mindset to become mad, deranged or paranoid. We see this more and more in our everyday society with seemingly rational and peaceful people turning to acts of terrorism and violence.
Internet Sites www. wikipedia. org www. books. eserver. org www. eapoe. org Books Edgar Allan Poe: ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ ‘The Angel of Old – An Extravaganza’ ‘The Business Man’ ‘A Tale of Ragged Mountains’ Charles Dickens: ‘David Copperfield’ ‘The Holly-Tree’ Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.