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Comment upon how each of the writers of the three stories develops tension in the opening section (first 1 and-a-half pages) of their narrative.

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Comment upon how each of the writers of the three stories develops tension in the opening section (first 1 and-a-half pages) of their narrative. The "Black Cottage" was written in 1859 by Wilkie Collins and is a typical example of Victorian melodrama. The story is narrated by a young girl named Bessie as she faces responsibility, insecurity and eventual success. Strong tension is developed from very early on in this story. With no mother and the rest of her family working away, the young girl is physically and emotionally isolated, creating many potential dangers. Adding to the tension and this sense of isolation is the location of the Black Cottage; it is situated in the heart of a moor in the West of England with no neighbours. Bessie does have some companionship, she knows Mrs. Knifton, and described as her "foster sister" she is a recently married friend of her mother's. Despite this, the reader's curiosity is occupied and immediate questions are raised as she speaks about the friendship and kindness, "I shall remember gratefully to the last day of my life." Many pieces of extremely effective tension are created here. The name of the cottage is obvious because of the outside exterior decoration and can be established as a symbolic dimension. Black is highly associated with evil and the reader is given a clear impression that something bad will happen there, creating a subtle but significant amount of tension. ...read more.


The men are then described, "Both men spoke in low tones, and their lips were hard and dry." The two men are already fatigued after their journey, they are now weak and an easier target for danger. Three paragraphs down the reader is given the distinct feeling of mystery as Evans comments on the unusual markings, ""It's queer," said Evans after a pause." Here the reader becomes more aware that the men do not know the environment they are in, and are therefore in danger. This is a simple yet effective use of tension. We are given another fragment of the place's history as the man holding the map confirms the writing is Chinese. Suspicion is raised once again on line 29 and an eerie atmosphere is created, "They both sat for some minutes staring at the land, while the canoe drifted slowly." The tranquillity of this situation is as effective in building tension as the descriptions of the unexplored terrain. The reader almost expects something to happen merely due to how peaceful this moment is, and how the tension has been built up prior to this. The tension built up is temporarily lifted as a perfect and surreal atmosphere is created, "The rhythmic was of the sea upon the reef was becoming audible now, and it had a pleasant sound in his ears; the water washed along the side of the canoe, and the paddle dripped between each stroke. ...read more.


Misdeeds are highlighted between lines 43 and 47 as Fagin shows Noah the woman he is to follow. The feeling of no-good is emphasised for the reader here. "Fagin pointed out a pane of glass high in the wall to Noah, and signed to him to climb up, on a piece of furniture below it, and observe the person in the adjoining room. "Is that the woman?" Fagin nodded "yes."" Tension is well-built here and is effective on the reader. The reader is aware of how much Fagin is paying Noah to do the job in hand; �1. In those days �1 was a great deal of money for a job, so suspicions arise for the reader and immediate and very effective tension is created. We begin to imagine just how important this job is, as someone so tight-fisted and intimidating as Fagin is willing to pay so much for one job. Although not completely obvious at the start, the setting of the story itself builds very strong and effective tension. In this time that the story is set in especially, London was a grim, sinister and dangerous place to be. The shadowy labyrinth of streets, back alleys and tunnels are the perfect environment for criminals like Fagin. This setting alone creates so much potential for bad things to happen, the reader would pick up on this sooner or later and an extremely powerful sense or tension is created. Rory Buckingham! 11S ...read more.

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