Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Charles Dickens's The Signalman. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Signalman: Introduction
The Signalman: Plot Summary
The Signalman: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Signalman: Themes
The Signalman: Quotes
The Signalman: Characters
The Signalman: Symbols
The Signalman: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Charles Dickens
Historical Context of The Signalman
Other Books Related to The Signalman
- Full Title: The Signalman (also stylized as “The Signal-Man”)
- Where Written: England
- When Published: 1866
- Literary Period: Victorian
- Genre: Short Story
- Setting: A signalman’s train station, tunnel, and box
- Climax: The narrator learns that the signalman was killed by a passing train.
- Antagonist: The ghost
- Point of View: First Person
Extra Credit for The Signalman
Ghost Club. Charles Dickens is said to have been a founding member of London organization known as “The Ghost Club,” which investigated and discussed alleged supernatural hauntings; other famous members included Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Though Dickens was fascinated by ghosts, he was never a firm believer or a firm skeptic. Instead, he took the middle ground: regarding the supernatural, he once wrote that “I do not in the least pretend that such things are not.”
Magic Touch. In addition to being a celebrated novelist, Charles Dickens was an amateur magician, performing tricks for his family and for the public. He spent a great deal of time practicing, and many speculate that magic influenced Dickens’ stories and novels.