Charles Dickens makes effective use of literary devices to generate a mood of uncertainty and a disturbing sense of dislocation, loneliness, and even powerlessness.
Using visual imagery and personification, Dickens describes the narrator's first sight of the signal-man. The narrator remarks from his vantage point that, as he looks below, the signal-man seems "foreshortened and shadowed." He is high above this man, standing in the "glow of an angry sunset." This attribution of human qualities to the sunset initiates the sense of preternatural powers in this setting.
As the narrator descends to meet the signal-man, he reflects upon the man's "air of reluctance or compulsion with which he had pointed out the path. . . . His attitude was one of such expectation and watchfulness. (This is a particularly poignant example of mood.)
When he arrives at the level of the signal-man, the narrator encounters the "dark sallow man" (visual imagery), and he notices what a dismal place the man's post is.
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