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'Compare how tension is created and maintained in three pre 1914 short stories.'

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Pre 1914 Coursework 'Compare how tension is created and maintained in three pre 1914 short stories.' 'The Red Room', The Cone' and 'The Superstitious Man's Story' are all short stories which were written before 1914. 'The Red Room' and 'The Cone' were both written by H.G. Wells and 'The Superstitious Man's Story' was written by Thomas Hardy. All three of these stories were written in Victorian Times (1837-1901). These were years of great scientific and technological developments. The authors of the three stories show us a diminishing belief in superstition and supernatural. The authors of 'The Red Room' and 'The Superstitious Man's Story' have written the stories in the style of a gothic one, although they don't end up being supernatural. However, 'The Cone' has been written with no gothic features, but it shows technological development as the title itself contains the word 'Cone' which is part of industrial terminology. Also, the setting is industrial and shows the development. 'The Red Room' is about a man who goes to a house and in particular a room which is seen to have ghosts in it and, therefore, no one goes in that room. However, this man goes in to prove there is no existence of a ghost. We find out that no ghost is present in the room and there never has been and it's just that fear has overcome the person. 'The Cone' is about a man and woman who are having an affair. Tension is created as the man and woman who are having an affair are not sure whether the woman's husband has found out about what is going on. At the end the woman's husband kills the other man and then after throwing him off a bridge on top of the hot, melting iron at the bottom, he realises he has done something terribly wrong. In contrast 'The Superstitious Man's Story' is a story which is based upon supernatural beliefs. ...read more.


The strong orange colour of the sky also relates to the iron works, when the iron is melted, as it has a very strong and bright orange colour. This also helps to create a picture in the readers mind. Also, in 'The Superstitious Man's Story', the setting which is described later in the story creates tension. It describes the church, and as the story is related to death, it gives us a negative image: "Last night, being Old Midsummer Eve, some of us went to church porch, and didn't get home till near one." This description which is given, gives us a negative image of the church, as it is late and also the story is to do with death. It may relate to graveyards in the church and evil spirits. This tells us something bad might happen, although it is near a church, which should have something good about it. In all three stories, the setting sets the scene very well; to make the reader create a vivid image of what might happen next. The setting creates tension as you want to know what will happen next. The feelings of characters, creates tension in both 'The Red Room' and 'The Cone'. The feelings the characters go through creates an image in out minds as if we are there present. We feel that we are in the character's place. This creates tension as we are unaware of what the character might do next, and we don't know what will happen next either. In 'The Red Room' we see the narrators feelings very strongly, when he has entered the room. We see clearly that the narrator feels no comfort in being there: The echoing of the stair and crackling of the fire was no sort of comfort to me." The narrator felt that noises around him were making him frightened. It tells us that in the room it was silent, and once he had examined it, he stood there and he felt frightened by noises he could hear around him. ...read more.


The way you read the sentence also helps to create a picture of what situation the character may be in. Tension is created and maintained through out all three pre 1914 short stories. This is done by the help of language devices such as metaphors, similes, personification and many other descriptions which are given to us, to put us in the place of the character. The opening creates tension, in the fact that we don't' know what has been going on and it feels we have been dragged right into the middle of everything. This creates anticipation for the reader and makes them continue to read as we are unaware of what is to come next. Description of characters also creates tension as we are given mostly negative aspects of the character. This give us a negative view on that character and we are not sure what they might do, as we have a suspense that he might do something bad to someone else. Description of setting creates tension as it sets the scene and gives us a view on the mood of characters. Mostly on a scene which is set at night, is scarier and creates more tension, whereas if it was daytime people wouldn't be as scared, although it may influence the readers as creating tension. Feelings of characters creates tension in all stories, as it puts us in the place of the character and the description makes us feel, how the character is feeling. This creates tension and also maintains it, as we don't know what will happen next. Imagery such as metaphors, similes and personification maintains the tension during the stories. It makes us create a flamboyant picture, of what is going on. Sentence structure also gives us a sense of tension as the build up of sentences tells us an important part is coming up, which creates anticipation for the readers. The work of H.G. Wells and Thomas Hardy has been successful and the way in which all three pre 1914 stories create tension and the way it is maintained. ...read more.

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