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Compare and contrast the ways in which tension and suspense are created in,

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the ways in which tension and suspense are created in, "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," "The Stolen Bacillus," and "Napoleon and the Spectre." All the above mentioned narratives contain suspense and tension throughout and they all belong to the "short story" genre. This is significant as in short stories the form doesn't allow the opportunity to write long descriptions or to create a strong relationship between the reader and the characters, so instead he or she needs to pack the tale with almost immediate tension to grip the reader from the outset. I also think the time in which all the stories were written is significant, as each of the different stories includes a contemporary fear that would definately have provoked tension and suspense from a reader in a Victorian society. In Victorian England the country and society was beginning to be transformed due to the Industrial Revolution. There was still an obvious hierarchical class and patriarchal structure. Women, for example, were still treated as inferior. In "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," and "The Stolen Bacillus" this is evident as the women in those stories are presented as either the damsels in distress (the Stoner twins,) ...read more.

Middle

However, Bronte uses vivid and ghastly adjectives that obviously suggest that the character is a spirit and does not leave much not revealed, unlike A.O.T.S.B and T.S.B. However it still creates tension as she uses horrific imagery when describing the spectre like; "eyes all glaced and bloodshot." When creating tension by describing a character's appearance all the stories have something in common which is that they all describe eyes. A.O.T.S.B describes Dr Roylott's eyes as "deep set," and "bile shot," T.S.B describes the Ancharist's eyes as "deep" and "grey," finally in N.A.T.S the spirit's eyes are said to be "all glaced and bloodshot with a frightful prominence from their sockets." The authors use eye descriptors as they form more tension and suspense than any other feature as they are sometimes said to be the window to a person's soul or similar other worldly theories. Not only do the authors use the characters' physical appearances to create tension they also use the characters' personalities. A.O.T.S.B does this in a similar way as T.S.B as they both give hints to the evil natures of a character's personality at the beginning. This is called foreboding as it makes the reader think that something unfortunate is going to happen, it is also a good suspense building technique. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the slow conversational beginning builds suspense with his hints (using language, character appearance etc,) that something isn't quite right. Then, as the tension reaches maximum point there is a sudden climax when the Ancharist and the Bacteriologist chase around London. Doyle in A.O.T.S.B does something quite similar as the beginning is slow and full of talk that slowly reveals past and personality but gradually builds up tension. Then, for a massively long build up, the end (although dramatic) seems quite short and fact. Bronte, in N.A.T.S however does something quite different. This is because she does not have a slow beginning, to create tension she simply shocks and surprises from the start with the Spectre appearing in the third paragraph. I don't think this works as well as the other two short stories as there is no slow introduction to the world of the story so the reader has less time to really get involved. In conclusion I think that all the stories and authors use different and similar techniques of building tension and creating suspense. They are all typical to the mystery genre and the time they were written and are all successful however I feel the story with the most tension and suspense in it is A.O.T.S.B by Doyle. Nicola Johnson 11.1 2169 words ...read more.

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