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Compare and contrast two short stories, focusing on the techniques used to create a sense of mystery and tension? The two short stories I will be looking at are "A Terribly Strange Bed" and "The Whole Town Is Sleeping"

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Introduction

Wide Reading Compare and contrast two short stories, focusing on the techniques used to create a sense of mystery and tension? The two short stories I will be looking at are "A Terribly Strange Bed" and "The Whole Town Is Sleeping" The setting of "The Whole Town Is Sleeping" is dark and dreary at night but during the day it is a completely normal town. The ravine is shadowy and creepy especially as there is a killer out. It says "Not with the lonely one strangling women" This makes the whole town even more isolated and frightening especially at night. The ravine is scary because it is out of the way of all civilisations even more so with the killer on the loose. The setting of the story is set at night so all shops are closed and people are peeping through there curtains making it all seem so much more creepy. The setting in a "The Whole Town Is Sleeping" creates mystery and tension because there is nobody outside at night which is when this story is set because of the murderer. This creates a feeling of danger because if you are out and you end up seeing the murderer not many people, if any will be around to help. ...read more.

Middle

It tells us this because the narrator starts to use exclamation points to make it more dramatic. The narrator also uses repetition for the words "quick" and "slammed". This creates tension because she is obviously worrying and trying to get in her house quickly. "A Terribly Strange Bed" is written in the first person so you aren't left in suspense because the person is telling the story himself and if he just stopped telling you it would seem silly and have no effect at all. When the man is in bed everything starts spinning and moving. You don't know if this is due to alcohol or if the owners of the casino are doing it so they can take back the money that he won. It says "Was the bed moving?" This tells the reader that the man had been drinking heavily because he can't be sure, but the owners of the club might have spiked his drink because they want the money back he has won. Or are the owners of the club actually moving the bed? As you keep the reading the story the bed is actually moving and somebody is trying to kill this man to get his money back. ...read more.

Conclusion

It starts with Lavinia counting each step at the ravine to reassure herself because she is no longer feeling cool and fearless now she is on her own. It says "'One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine steps,' she whispered." She is obviously terrified because she wouldn't be whispering to herself if she were feeling calm. I mean when do you ever count to yourself, but when you're scared. When she got home her heart rate started to lower but when she went to switch the light on somebody cleared his voice. This creates tension and mystery because we don't know whom it is and what is he doing in her house? It finishes "Behind her, in the black living-room, someone cleared his throat. . ." "A Terribly Strange Bed" has a completely different finish to it because the story doesn't end on a cliffhanger. The narrator escaped through a window and immediately contacted the police. The old soldier was in fact the master of the casino and had been kicked out of the army and had been guilty of all sorts of villainies since. The narrator has learned from his experience unlike Lavinia who could well have been killed. Both endings are effective but I think "The Whole Town Is Sleeping" creates the most tension and mystery because you don't know what as happened to Lavinia and you can only imagine the worst. ...read more.

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