“The black cottage” immediately gets you into the gloomy but adventurous mood in which the story is conceived, although you wouldn’t be able to tell what “The Signalman” had in store for you by its title. Both of the stories authors Collins and Dickens don’t hesitate in making you feel uneasy about the place in which each of the stories is set and the characters in which the stories involve. “The Black Cottage” is not so much a horror story but in a way a mild thriller, which is strange sometimes but an exiting story.The story gives you in many stages of the story that on the edge of your seat feeling as the main character manages to squeeze herself out of tight situations, a lot of the situation which are commonly used nowadays in horror movies, books and stories. The situation in the “Black Cottage” is a young girl who has been left alone in a cottage in the country with the nearest cottage being miles away.

“The signalman” in the other hand is not such a quickly paced chiller.A very clever story which is like no other, a strange and unsettling tale of a lonesome signalman who has committed himself to his job, a job as a signalman deep in a railway cutting away from the outside or “normal” world. The main similarity about these two stories is that both of the stories are set out as if you knew something ominous, peculiar or supernatural was going to happen as the story unfolds. Dickens creates a very good structure for the story “The Signalman”, full of queries, puzzling moments and supernatural situations. All of these factors built up the story and prepared the reader for what was to come late in the story.

Throughout the passage Dickens explores the setting and characters views in order to build up the suspense, which makes the tale so chilling, and weird. The suspense starts to build up from the very first sentence “Halloa! Below there” a unknown man calling the signalman from above his lonesome railway cutting. This short line proves to be very important as the story unfolds and is very important in building up the chilling feeling the story creates. “Halloa! Below there” ? This is not something a normal person would say and is the very reason Dickens used it. Already from the first line of the story Dickens had managed to puzzle the reader.

Another factor right from the start that built up tension was the fact that the two men who confront each other are left anonymous. Dickens hadn’t included a review or description of the two characters involved in the story which meant you didn’t know who they exactly where and what they where doing in that area. If Dickens had included a character description it is inevitable that there wouldn’t be so much tension in the story. Where these two real people or where they ghosts or spirits I found myself asking this was of course a ghost story so could these be spirits in which the story evolves around.From reading the first page or so Dickens misleads you into thinking that maybe the signalman himself was a spirit of some kind or a supernatural being.

As the narrator explains from his own view there was something peculiar about the manner of the signalman as if something was on his mind or as if something was wrong. A bit in the first paragraph of the story which leads you to this conclusion is where the narrator explains “I stood on top of the steep cutting nearly over his head, he turned himself about, and looked down the line.There was something remarkable in his manner of doing so, though I could not have said for my life what. ” This sense of mysteriousness repeats itself throughout the story and makes it a very tense tale.

In the Black Cottage suspense was built up in different ways to the signalman. Collins used action in his story instead of a chilling theme. The setting surroundings, the location of the cottage was one of the main factors that built up suspense. She was alone, in a dingy cottage with valuable belongings, this is just a recipe for something to happen and when your reading the story you can definitely feel something coming on.

Creating the right place for the setting of a story is usually one of the most important features in creating a successful story. The setting can influence the reader’s emotions and views on the story and also create an atmosphere for the storyline ahead. This is very important in spooky or chilling stories like “the signalman” and “the black cottage” as the setting usually gives the reader a sense of foreboding. This is true in both story’s with one being set in a lonely, damp railway cutting and the other being set in a lonely cottage cut off from the outside world.In “The Signalman” Dickens could have chosen any railway signal box in any railway cutting but to add the chilling feeling Dickens was aiming towards he chose to base his eerie signalman in a dark, wet, deep and lonesome cutting. This was an very important move as the setting contributed a lot towards the story.

The suspense is also built up through the setting, the fact that the setting is untouched and almost a secret makes you feel that something supernatural or unreal could be going on in the railway cutting area or if something supernatural wasn’t going on it made you feel as if you were expecting something was going to happen.The black cottage was set in somewhere different but in some ways similar to the signalman. The story was set in a cottage situated about a mile and a half away from any other settlement. The family living in the cottage were very poor and so the cottage wasn’t very pleasant, in fact in the story it is told that the cottage had a “curiously dark, dingy look” to it.

During the story the girl who is the main character is alone in this dark dingy cottage is left with certain responsibility’s, the setting helps this responsibility seem as if something was bound to happen.This isolation builds up a great deal of suspense, it meant that if the girl was to get into any kind of trouble during the story no one would be able to hear her cries for help and there would be nowhere near for the girl to run all this due to the location of the cottage itself. The story of the signalman and the black cottage were set in the 19th Century. The type of story being told and the language being used in both of them is very typical of this time. Both authors use a vocabulary that probably wouldn’t be seen in books and tales nowadays.

The language is very important in both stories.Both stories are told from the first person view. This means that you can relate to the character more easily and in both stories you get more into the story as it gos along due to this first persons view. This view also helps to build up the suspense in the story.

The fact that the stories were written in the 19th century becomes quite obvious by some of the things each character says. A good example is in the signalman “This was a lonesome post to occupy (I said), and it had riveted my attention when I looked down from up yonder. The choices of language in both of the stories also creates a kind of mysteriousness to readers.There are many differences and many similarities between the two stories “The Signalman” and the “Black cottage”. Both stories were mysterious and strange in a way and both authors of the stories managed to build up a lot of suspense to make the stories more exiting and thrilling.

You did not know what to expect at the end of each story although the black cottages ending may have been slightly predictable as the same situations and story lines are used in books films and plays to date. All factors involved setting, suspense and structure, language in the stories help to build up suspense which makes them more exiting to read.

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