A ghost story usually deals with the reappearance of the repressed and must have a ghost (hence the name). Both types of stories explore the limits of what people are capable of doing/experiencing (e.g., fear, violence, madness) in a world where the "normal" rules of cause and effect do not necessarily apply. The stories present an attempt to find adequate descriptions or symbols for deeply rooted energies and fears related to death, afterlife, punishment, darkness, evil, violence, and destruction.

This is what made so many stories in the 19th century popular yet fashionable.In this essay I will try to deal with some of the conventions and normal themes that are contained within a stereotypical ghost story and what the reader encounters as a result.The objective of writing stories such as these is to evoke an emotional response in the reader, so as to keep the reader interested in the story.Dickens' story ' The Signalman' has many examples of different ways of building tension. The opening line 'Halloa! Below there!' plunges us immediately into the story, telling us that we must be attentive in order to follow the story. Furthermore, it makes our imagination start to ask questions, for example; who is saying this? Who are they speaking to?Dickens' uses other descriptive words to evoke senses from within the reader.

For example, he describes the tunnel as having a " deadly smell " which of course is linked to the sense of smell.This is used to great effect as Dickens' uses the five senses to make such an impact." clammy stone " describes the sense of touch as Dickens' (being the narrator) walks down the " zigzag descent ". The setting of the " The Signalman " is extremely "gloomy". Once again " little sunlight ever found "is linked to the sense of sight, giving the reader a sense of eeriness and isolation.

Isolation plays a crucial part in both " The Signalman " and " The Judges House ".The village in which Malcolm Malcolmson is situated in is described as being " isolated " and "desert". On reading this, one might anticipate an event in the story to unfold, a sign of things to come. Light and dark are components used in this element of isolation and desolation, linked with the gothic element of contrasting light.

" deep red glow". In " The Signalman" the contrast of light can be used to either hide or to conceal the apparitions in the story " so little sunlight ever found its way to this spot".Both the entrance to the tunnel in (The Signalman) and the haunted house in which Malcolm stays in (The Judges House) both give a sense of foreboding. For instance, "depressing and forbidding air" and the house being described as " it looked more than a fortified house" which gives a feeling of being uptight and on edge in the house. This may also give an image of being in a prison rather than a house.

Another example of a convention is the bad weather, which both stories seem to support. It is interesting to note that bad weather is almost always used in stories from this genre to great effect. It creates tension and suspense, key ingredients needed for a successful horror or ghost story.The reader experiences fear and ambiguity, especially when we come face to face with the signalman.

His appearance is quite peculiar as his is behaviour. He looks at the bell when it does not ring and talks of a ghost. This is madness or suspicion as the bell sounds, signalling the coming of a spectre. They retreat to the signal box and from his long description you realise that he is quite a knowledgeable man "Worked at fractions and decimals".If he is so clever why is he a signalman? He is also a very skilled workman "Safest of men to be employed. These questions add mystery to his identity, which in turn builds up the suspense.

Possibly the fact that Dickens does not give the signalman a name shows that he is deemed unimportant to most people. Dickens may want us to counter this view so that we feel sympathetic towards the signalman and to think all humans beings are important to each other.Within their talk, the signalman looks outside toward the tunnel more than once. This creates expectancy of what's going to happen.

However, in the Judges House you feel the text is more predictable yet it keeps its sense of eeriness and fear about it.At the time of these books being published, was a time where many Victorians believed in the supernatural. This is displayed in both stories, as in the Judge's house, the picture of the judge disappeared from the frame and the narrator from the Signalman describes, " as if I had left the natural world".The dialect Dickens' uses in The Signalman are one of rich variety and descriptive language, whereas The Judge's House, the plot and dialect are simple but still have the effect of bringing a nightmarish quality about them.

Bram Stoker builds up suspense in The Judge's House by the fact that "the somethings" that Malcolm talks about gives you an image of someone or something constantly watching over you. Religion is significant in The Judge's House as Malcolm throws the bible at the "old devil", being the rat which myth has it, is empowered by the evil judge who previously lived in the house. The Judges House is built around this myth and suspicion. " an old devil! The old devil" cries out Mrs Witham, trying to instil fear into Malcolm.In addition to the eeriness, sound can also had to this strange affect.

This can be shown in The Judges House as the rats disturbed Malcolm with their "perpetual scampering".As has already been said the bad weather can also reflect the sounds and strange noises. For instance, "roar of thunder" and "rain like hail" as described in The Judge's House.Stereotype ghost stories have a victim or someone who suffers from the main events contained within the story. This stereotype is portrayed in The Signalman, where in fact the signalman is the victim here. We to feel the desperation and distraction of his ordeal.

He "wiped the drops from his forehead", displaying his nerves thus making us nervous.The isolation and the "enclosed space" in which he works in gives the reader to feel sympathetic towards him. His monotonous yet responsible job makes you think of why he sees these recurring visions of future events. Maybe the claustrophobia is related to what the narrator thinks is the signalman's madness but makes us feel anxious.

This is also similar in The Judge's House as Malcolm decides that Mrs Whitam and the rest of the villagers in Benchurch are not of this sane world yet the reader feels that he has made a grave mistake in not believing in what is not of this sane world.The bell in The Signalman and the bell in The Judge's House are of significance because as shown, as both bells ring, they both signify the death of Malcolm and the signalman.This is related to the theme of the supernatural, eeriness and exaggerated sense of macabre.Just as the entrance to the tunnel in The Signalman as foreboding presence surrounding it, in The Judge's House where Malcolm study's contains a forbidden room which to my knowledge seems to be protected by the rat with its "baleful eyes". The " forbidden chair", the old oak chair where the judge used to sit is the main focus and draws the reader towards it.When we hear the signalman's story, it is one with such a horrific plot that we become drawn in.

When the author continuously interrupts it, we become more anxious and even more desperate to hear the rest of the story. There is such a concentration I death that it works and in hand with the gothic element. We realise that after the narrator and the signalman have spoken three times, there have been three accidents, one of which involving the signalman. Coincidence? Fate? Destiny? These are some of the unanswered questions that might remain unanswered. This "struck chill" to the narrator after finding out what the signalman might have gone through.Dickens' use of painful personification, like "angry sunset" and "violent pulsation" contribute greatly to the impact and fear that surrounds the story.

Short sentences and repetition are used to great effect as it builds up suspense and tension whilst coaxing you to read on. "there was", referring to the dead girls and train accidents.Conversely, you do not find this pattern carried on in The Judge's House and feel that the story at times drags on too much.There is such a conflict in personalities between the author, calm and collected, and the agitated and stressed signalman.

We end up having to choose sides between the author and the signalman behaving crazy.The irony leaves us shaken. The one time the signalman chooses to ignore the apparition was the one time he should have. The calm scientific reasoning of the author was wrong whilst the hysterical ramblings of the signalman were surprisingly correct.

In conclusion, the unexplained ending leaves us in a very tense and unsettled state, in comparison the Judge's House has a straightforward ending, with Malcolm dead and the hangman's rope in connection with the judge, the reader understands this plot.The "heavy gables" that swung in the wind give a nightmarish imagery of what the judge's house might look like. From this we follow that this is a gothic element of architect used in the Judge's House to set the mood and atmosphere with great impact.To reiterate the issue, the sudden ending in The Signalman leaves the reader with many unanswered questions, which cannot be said about The Judge's House.

This shows how complicated and detailed The Signalman actually is.In short we have two sides to a successful ghost story. The Signalman being plotted with riddles and eeriness, giving as little information about the plot as possible so as to entice the reader to read on and give doubts within the reader about who is actually responsible for the train deaths.Both these stories deal with the common themes, conventions and ideals that pursue an enjoyable ghost story. The main issues being the suspense and tension that is created and how it is created is what captures the imagination of the readers.

The author essentially explores the boundaries of all these common themes and his or her own imagination.However if the limits contained within these common themes are abused, the essence of ghoulishness in the ghost story is lost and either becomes too crude for the reader to enjoy.