Theme Of Suspense In The Signalman

1339 Words 6 Pages
Gothic literature perpetually creates suspense and tension in the form of both tradition and contemporaneity. Both forms of gothic literature share a theme insanity that helps the writers to create suspense. In the traditional gothic literature ‘The Signalman’ written in 1866, Charles Dickens successfully builds suspense by writing in first person with numerous imageries. In addition, suspense and tension are well-developed through various techniques, such as third person point of view and familiar imagery, by Roald Dahl in the contemporary gothic literature ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’.

Dickens explores the theme of insanity to set up suspense throughout the story. This is clearly shown through the adjectives, such as ‘troubled’, ‘strained’ and
…show more content…
Through the phrase ‘Patrick’s decided’, we can say that Sam is not aware of Patrick’s death as dead person can’t decide anything, but Mary Maloney and the readers know that Patrick’s dead as it is written in Mary’s point of view. Therefore, the dramatic irony is created and the reader is left in suspense while waiting someone to find out the true that Mary killed Patrick. The adjectives, such as ‘normal’, ‘cheerful’ and ‘impossible’ help the readers to understand the expression of Mary described by other characters. This highlights that Sam and the detectives don’t have any doubt on Mary, so it leaves the readers with suspense again as it seems like no one will harbour suspicion against Mary. The repetition of ‘please’ and the verbs ‘beg’ and ‘eat’ indicates dramatic irony that the policemen, who are persuaded to ‘eat the lamb’ by Mary, do not know exact murder weapon while Mary and the readers know since it is written in Mary’s point of view, thereby we can see that she has intention to destroy the murder weapon. Since the readers are wondering if the police will eventually notice the truth of the crime, the dramatic irony creates suspense to the readers. This makes Dahl a master in creating suspense from the perspective of the third …show more content…
Through the imagery of ‘the drinks’, the adjective ‘weak’ indicates that it is the only to drink with her husband and to please her husband by drinking together since she drinks alcohol although she is pregnant. This gives effect of sacrifice towards the readers. Also, the adjective ‘strongish’ suggests that Patrick needs to boost his confidence to announce his leaving. This makes the readers to feel seriousness. Moreover, Dahl writes ‘a leg of lamb’ and ‘a steel club’ that works coherently to create imagery. The imagery of ‘a leg of lamb’ firstly gives the image of familiar ingredient for cooking, but it reinforces suspense at the end as the readers could not expect it used as a murder weapon. Also, the imagery of ‘steel club’ gives the feeling of hardness towards the readers and it breaks the stereotype of typical Victorian woman who is usually described as weak and mild. In addition, the imagery of ‘mirror’ generates suspense since only ‘the mirror’ knows the true personality of Mary Maloney throughout the story as she ‘rehearsed… to set up alibi.’ The ‘mirror’ reflects the cruelty of Mary even she ‘tried a smile’ as she tries to cover her crime. This makes the readers to feel impenitence. Therefore, imagery develops suspense attentively in both ‘The Signalman’ and ‘Lamb to the

Related Documents