Even though ‘The Signal Man’ was written in 1866 and ‘The Fog Horn’ in the 1960’s, nearly 100 years apart, they still have many similarities in the way the two stories have been structured. In this essay I am going to be pointing out the how both writers have created a sense of mystery.
I am also going to try and point out the similarities and differences in the setting in each story; the main characters (the signal man and McDunn) the build-up of suspense and the climax.In each story, there is a main character, and both main characters have experienced something dramatic in their lives which they have both experienced more than once in there lives. They both are telling someone, a friend who they trust deeply about there secret. In both stories, their friend is the narrator.
But what differ from the main characters are there feelings towards what they are experiencing.While McDunn is fascinated and intrigued by his secret, the Signal Man is terrified and troubled by his. I have made up my mind, Sir,” he began, bending forwards as soon as we were seated, and speaking in a tone but a little above a whisper, “that you shall not have to ask me twice what troubles me. I took you for someone else yesterday evening, that’s what troubles me” – The Signal Man “Come on, I’ve got something special I have been saving up to tell you” – The Fog Horn These little quotations indicated that the Signal Man felt some pressure for him to tell the narrator what was troubling him, I think that if the narrator hadn’t asked him what troubles the Signal man, then the Signal man would never have mentioned it.Yet McDunn has been “saving” the secret for a special occasion. Maybe this is because McDunn is more open-minded than the signal man, and doesn’t just regard his secret as a horrible thing.
Or maybe it is because the Signal doesn’t wont to be seen as mad, because if people think he is mad, he will most likely loose his job because lives depend on him doing it right, and his job is the only thing his really got in his life.Both stories have a good technique to make the reader feel a sense of mystery, but you can tell that ‘The signal Man’ was written a earlier than ‘The Fog Horn’ because of the language used, it is not that noticeable, but the odd words make it different from ‘The Fog Horn’ “Halloa! Below there! ” “One would have thought…
” “Good night sir and here’s my hand” – Signal Man This indicates that even though the stories have been structured similarly and both create mystery they both have unique bits to it that differs the two stories.Both the signal man and McDunn have jobs that lives depend on, even though there jobs don’t consist of much, if they didn’t do them right or if they didn’t do them at all, it would be disastrous. I think that if McDunn wonted another job he could, but he likes his job and I think he would be sad to see it go if he had to leave, unlike the signal man who almost defiantly has to keep his job unless he wants to retire, because he didn’t leave school with enough qualifications to do other things with his life. “He had made his bed, and he lay upon it.It was far to late to make another” – Signal Man.
“As for McDunn, he was master of the new light house” – The Fog Horn These quotations indicate that they both chose there jobs, but the Signal Man could not change his mind about he does for a living, but McDunn could change his mind, and even when the monster destroyed his old light house, he still kept one with the light house. Whether of not the Signal Man would change his mind about his job, I do not know, but we know that McDunn must love his job and that the Signal Man does not have very many opportunities.In ‘The Signal Man’ when the signal man starts to tell the narrator about the spector he saw, when the narrator starts to excuse these sightings by saying his eyes may have been fooling him, but while saying this, he reassures him that he doesn’t think he is mad. When the signal man realizes that the narrator doesn’t really believe him, he jumps to his defence saying that he knows exactly what he saw and his eyes were not fooling him. But when McDunn tells his story about the monster and whn the narrator doesn’t believe him, he calmly trys to explain what happened.
I think that McDunn realizes how hard this is to believe, so he doesn’t get angry when the narrator doesn’t believe him. Also, McDunn can actually show the narrator his secret, but the signal man can only tell him what he has seen, and what he has seen, know one else has, which is a lot harder to believe. Especially seen as though he is such a loner, people may think he isn’t right in the head either, so maybe that’s why he feels the need to specifically state that he is in full mind.”And did the spectre seem to be there, when you looked out? ” “it was there” “Both times? He repeated firmly “Both times” – The Signal Man “Its impossible! ” I said “No, Johnny, we’re impossible. Its likes it’s always was 10 million years ago. It hasn’t changed.
It’s us and the land that have changed, become impossible. US! “- The Fog Horn This indicates that the signal man is worried about what the narrator is thinking about him, he wants to make sure that his words aren’t being twisted. McDunn is more laid back with what he is talking about. He is more worried about whether or not the narrator understands than what the narrator thinks about him.Both stories have a part where things happen in threes. The Monster returns to the light house three times, the narrator visits the signal man three times before the signal man dies, the bell rings three times, the spectre shows itself three times. This helps create mystery on the number three and it also creates wonder, why three? Three has always been a magical number.
Witchcraft believe in the three fold law, and both what is happening to the signal man and McDunn is magic and supernatural.In conclusion all these things point to that the two stories have been structured in the same way, but still have there own unique style. Both Main characters are similar, but they both differ from each other in certain areas. They both have the same kind of jobs and same kind of surroundings, but they were written nearly 100 years apart from each other. They both give of mystery by the writing, but the signal man shows different language because of when it was written.
Both stories contain similarities and differences, but they both create a wonderful sense of mystery and suspense.