How might I write a newspaper report about what happened to the signalman from Charles Dickens' "The Signal-Man"? Why was his death was so mysterious?
As you correctly point out, the signalman dies at the end of the story, so consider writing a newspaper report from the perspective of the narrator. An interview-style report will work best for this task and there are a number of questions you might like to include.
Firstly, ask the narrator about his initial impressions of the signalman. His answer might include details about their first conversation, in which the signalman appeared distracted by the red light and had the feeling that he had met the narrator before. Include the following quote which demonstrates the signalman's sense of mystery, during this first meeting:
The monstrous thought came into my mind, as I perused the fixed eyes and the saturnine face, that this was a spirit, not a man.
Secondly, ask the narrator about his invitation to return to the signal box on the second night. Relate the details of his conversation with the signalman in which he described the appearances of the ghost and the tragic accidents which quickly followed. (This will provide the evidence to prove the existence of the ghost.) You may mention the narrator's initial skepticism, but how the strength of the signalman's despair quickly eroded this feeling and made the narrator want to help him:
His pain of mind was most pitiable to see. It was the mental torture of a conscientious man, oppressed beyond endurance by an unintelligible responsibility involving life.
Finally, ask the narrator to comment on his last visit to the signal box, when he found out that the signalman had died. Comment on the mysterious nature and the tragic irony of this event; namely, how the man who witnessed the signalman's death uttered the same words as the ghost:
Below there! Look out! Look out! For God’s sake, clear the way!
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