Describe the setting of "The Signal-Man" and the atmosphere that is created by it.

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Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dickens's "The Signal-Man" takes place in a remote train signal box. The box is surrounded by a dripping wall of jutting stones that blocks out the sunshine and sky almost entirely. In one direction, the wall continues, and in the other, it leads to a tunnel whose architecture is notable for its gloominess. One must descend to the box along a steep, zigzaggy path. Inside the box is a fire, a book for recording entries, and a telegraphic instrument.

The atmosphere the setting of the story creates is one of gloominess and isolation. When the specter of danger arrives at this lonely outpost, the signal-man is alarmed. However, as the specter gives him no idea of what danger is coming, he cannot warn people. Therefore, he lives in anxious isolation, knowing that the specter means impending doom but not knowing what shape the doom will take. The signal-man's lack of connection with the outside world enhances his alarm and his sense of futility in the face of danger.

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The setting of "The...

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Kelvin Brakus eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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