In the two stories, Dickens and Bradbury try to convey the idea of the supernatural and get the message across that even in the presence of such advanced technology (for that time period) the supernatural still co-exists with and is far greater than man and the human world.
In both of the stories, the setting is in a desolate lonely place, all of the characters who feel the supernatural (The Signalman, McDunn and the narrator in the Fog Horn) are cut off from civilisation in some way. The signalman is cut off by a deep, "steep cutting" and the fact that the works on his own.McDunn and the narrator in the Fog Horn were cut off by the fact that they worked in a light house which was far out to sea. Both of those settings are completely desolate and there is virtually no way to escape if any danger occurred.
The presence of technology is very real in both stories and the stories keep this throughout. In the 'Signalman' the signalman is very skilled with the technology that he has to do. The technology that he uses are sending telegrams, changing the railway signals and being consistently alert for any danger that may occur to the train.The technology that is described in the story would give the impression, that the time period in which the story is set is that of the Victorian era.
The foghorn though is set in the 1950s, I can tell this because in the present time light houses aren't manned and it would have to be in a time period that cars would be available for a light house keeper to own "I parked my car". McDunn in the "Foghorn" doesn't like new technology and refers to the sea and talking about it being so much better in "the olden days" than it is now.He also has a low opinion of the way that humans have built a world where many don't care for the creatures that were here before us and the fact that we are destroying it. I feel that Bradbury portrays this character as quite a few old people feel, these people tend to dislike modern technology and prefer "the good old days". I think that some people feel this because they get frustrates by the fact that their way of life was rapidly changing and leaving them behind.In both stories the narrator tells the story from his perspective.
This is common in stories about the supernatural because the reader sees the story unfold through the eyes of only one character. This creates extra tension as you cannot see (as it were) what is happening to other characters when the narrator isn't with them. This is especially apparent in the "Signalman" as the narrator only ever meets with the signalman twice therefore a lot of the story is shrouded by mystery.This is less apparent in the "Foghorn" because the narrator is with McDunn the whole time, never the less though the sense of mystery and suspense is still there.
The protagonists are the most affected by the supernatural in both stories. In the "Signalman" the signalman was so tormented by the apparitions that appeared before a disaster that the narrator thought that he was "oppressed beyond endurance by an unintelligible responsibility involving life". When in actual fact the signalman was actually seeing these things.Also the narrator fails to believe that the apparitions are using the bell. In the foghorn on the other hand the narrator completely believes McDunn who says that he has seen a monster which is over thirty million years old.
I feel that the narrator only shows that because he respects McDunn and doesn't want to start an argument because he has a very boring job and likes to listen to stories. McDunn is the complete opposite to the signalman in that he respects the monster and is in complete awe of it.He feels that we have no right to stop it as it has been around longer than us and complains that "IT" hasn't changed but our world has changed beyond all recognition, I feel that the authors try to get the point across that no matter how much technology that we have, the supernatural will always be able to use it for their use and be more powerful. I think they are those type of people that are frustrated with the amount of change going on in our world and are trying to make us stop and think.