The Signal-Man Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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Is the narrator the signalman in "The Signal-Man"?

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In Charles Dickens’s story, there are two main characters: the first-person narrator and the signalman. Both are unnamed. They are not the same person. The narrator is out for a walk in the countryside when he meets the signalman; the latter is working on the railroad. Most of the story is straightforward first-person narrative, but there is some dialogue in which the signalman tells the narrator about the apparitions he has been seeing. Using a first-person narrator creates a biased view of events, as we hear the signalman’s opinions only through the filter of the narrator. In this story, this perspective is important because the signalman dies. He would have been an unreliable narrator if he had told his story from the grave.

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