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Compare how the writers build up atmosphere in the 'Red Room' by H.G Wells and 'The Darkness Out There' by Penelope Lively

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Compare how the writers build up atmosphere in the 'Red Room' by H.G Wells and 'The Darkness Out There' by Penelope Lively When you look at both titles, you can see they leave you with unanswered questions. The title 'Red Room' immediately attracts the reader's attention; we usually associate red with fear and danger. Is this room dangerous? Overall, the title raises so much curiosity that it has an overwhelming effect, wanting us to read on and find answers to our questions. The 'Darkness Out There', creates exactly the same feeling. What could be out there? The types of questions you ask yourself when you read the title. This essay will tell you about how the writer builds up atmosphere in both of the short stories. The 'Darkness Out There' is a story about two young people going to help an old lady with her housework, as they are a part of a Good Neighbours club. The old lady tells them a story about something that she did in the war. The young people are shocked by her story and leave as they thought she was a kind old lady who would never hurt a soul. The ' Red Room' is about a young man going to visit a castle where there is one room which is meant to be haunted. You see most of the story through his eyes and the different feelings he goes through, as well as the weird and spooky aspects that he experiences along his way to the 'Red Room'. ...read more.


Rutter would say or she is superstitious. This can cause atmosphere as it leaves the reader in two minds of why Sandra is saying that. Kerry Stevens seems a stereotype, he works part time in a garage, and will have a full time job there when he leaves school. There are suggestions that Kerry is not as Sandra sees him to be. For example, he is ready to spend his free time helping old people, and he asks Mrs. Rutter what she wants them to do, then gets on with it steadily. Which could cause atmosphere as Sandra is contradicting herself. Which would make the reader ask if Sandra is correct or the facts right? Mrs. Rutter is the opposite of Kerry in a way. She looks like a stereotype of a sweet old lady, calling Sandra "dear" and asking her if she is "courting". She seems very interested in marriage and people having children. It may be that her own childlessness is something for which she blames the Germans. She says she was a widow at thirty-nine so it seems like she would have not had children anyway. She claims, " I've got a sympathy with young people". Perhaps she quite likes young people but she does not really have sympathy with them, as she is bitter and vengeful. Gradually her real character is revealed. As she does this you can tell by her actions that she is glad she did commit this tragedy and left the German man to die. ...read more.


The description of people in the Red Room builds up atmosphere, as it uses words like, "monstrous shadow", "pale eyes" and "withered arm". Words that describe the people in such depth it leaves the reader feeling sick just trying to picture it. There is a certain stereotyping of the Darkness Out There. Here is an example. "Some of the old people were really nice". This is something that reflects on the Red Room as well. As the young man at the end of the Red Room says that the old people are very nice when at the start he was describing there looks in a disgusting way. In the Red Room the old people have a standard English vocabulary, whereas the young man is given a very upper class and stylish vocabulary. Around the epiphany of the story, the language relating to the young man's experience is described in very short sentences with a lot of punctuation. The Darkness Out There uses high vocabulary but not all the way through the story. There is not much punctuation used in the story but there are quite a few short sentences creating tension prior to the end of the story. From looking back at the essay I can tell that both writers have used effective methods to build atmosphere. They are two different stories but they have similarities through out both of them, which I have explained. H.G. Wells and Penelope Lively build up atmosphere to make the story interesting and keep the reader's attention By Mandeep Batavia Candidate No. 8013 11Br Ms.Potts English ...read more.

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