How does Charles Dickens use the ghost story genre to provoke fear in both Victorian and modern reader of 'The Signalman'?Ghost stories have many conventions. For example the setting is typically a dark gloomy place like a castle with thick fog and strange noises. Other conventions of the genre have the ghost being a white billowing shape floating above the ground. Sometimes, like in this story ghost story are used to explore things. For example this story explores the ideas of trains being modern technology and seeming to do more harm than good.
The start is quite unusual in the way it grabs the reader's attention "Halloa! Below there!" Starting with dialogue draws the reader in because it makes you want to know many questions like, Who is saying this? And why? Also who is he talking to? Straightaway it brings in typical ghost story mysteriousness. "There was something remarkable in his manner of doing so".
This is designed so that the reader feels uneasy right from the start. It is also another clue to the outcome of the story. 'The Signalman' starts with a mysterious feeling and does not tell you what is happening until later on. The mysteriousness is typical of a ghost story but most ghost stories talk about the setting and how scary it is to instil fear in the reader.
Charles Dickens uses lots of techniques to draw the setting in a reader's mind. He uses words with connotations "this great dungeon" the word dungeon connotes death, ghosts and being trapped. Also it is a metaphor because it is actually a cutting; it is just being compared to a dungeon. The alliterative onomatopoeia of "vague vibration" is used. The alliteration gives you a sense of the power and the onomatopoeia emphasises the vibration...