Themes

The main themes explored in the short story “The Signal-Man” by Charles Dickens are that of reason versus the supernatural and insanity. Additionally, the story is enhanced through the motif of the eyes. The author’s main message is that some events are hard to explain by only using reason.

Reason versus the Supernatural

“The Signal-Man” is constructed around the conflict between rational thought and what appear to be supernatural events. In the short story, a seemingly intelligent and logical man firmly believes that he is haunted by a ghost or a spectre which warns him about catastrophic events which are about to happen close to his railway cabin station. But while the man is convinced he is not hallucinating and that there is a link between the apparitions and two railway accidents (a crash and the death of a lady), his interlocutor believes everything has a logical explanation. Even if the story gives him chills, the narrator digs his toes in find...

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