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Compare The Whole Towns Sleeping with A Terribly Strange Bed, focusing on the techniques used by each writer to build up tension and suspense.

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Introduction

Q. Compare The Whole Towns Sleeping with A Terribly Strange Bed, focusing on the techniques used by each writer to build up tension and suspense. Murder mystery stories have been very popular for many years, some of the most popular being the Sherlock Holmes stories. Murder mystery novels rely on suspense and tension to entertain the reader. These genres of novels aren't just designed to entertain the reader, they are also designed to challenge the readers' imagination. "The Whole Towns Sleeping" and "A Terribly Strange Bed" are both excellent examples of this genre. Both stories have some similarities in the way that tension and suspense are created but they mainly create tension and suspense in different ways. Overall I think that tension and suspense are created to a better effect that is more dramatic in "The Whole Towns Sleeping." "A Terribly Strange Bed" is set in Paris; this almost instantly creates tension as the reader is not completely familiar with this foreign land and therefore challenges the mind. This is similar to "The whole Towns Sleeping" as it is set in a "Little town" which is set "Deep far away from everything, kept to itself by a river and a rainforest and a ravine." This creates tension because you can predict something bad or sinister is going to happen due to the isolation of the setting. ...read more.

Middle

In "The Whole Towns Sleeping" The fast speed of dialogue is also used to great effect to create tension and suspense to a greater extent where needed. An example of this is where Lavinia is entering her house whilst being followed by someone: "The key fitted. "Unlock the door, quick, quick!" The door opened. "Now inside, slam it!" She slammed the door" "Now lock it, bar it, lock it!" She cried wretchedly. "Lock it tight"" This fast staccato in text adds to the tension as actions become quicker and more frightening. When tension and suspense is being built up the actions taking place are described in much more detail as the reader has to believe that those actions are actually taking place. This is done successfully in "The Whole Towns Sleeping" where Lavinia and Francine "Started up the side of the ravine on a stony path in the dark. They heard voices and stopped. Below, near the creek of the waters, a voice was murmuring "I'm the Lonely one, I'm the lonely one, I kill people." Darkness is also referred to here again to add more tension to the scene. The way fear is portrayed is different in each of the stories. In "The Whole Towns Sleeping" the fear follows Lavinia and Francine to ordinary day to day places. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reader is left confused not knowing who or what the Lonely One is, or perhaps is it just the loneliness in the girls that kill them. In "A Terribly Strange Bed" there is a physical not psychological smothering which is done by a piece of machinery disguised as a four poster bed. This silent smothering action failed to kill the protagonist, to the relief of the reader. In both stories the characters need the reader to be sympathetic to their plights. If this affinity is not obtained the reader will not respond to any danger that the protagonist is subjected to. This is achieved in both stories although it is created to a better effect in "The Whole Towns Sleeping". In "The Whole Towns Sleeping" Lavinia is described as the "Prettiest maiden lady in town." This beauty makes the reader feel attraction for her and want her to live. In "A Terribly Strange Bed" the protagonist is just a normal person trying to live a normal life although he is arrogant in the way he did not find it in himself to stop gambling letting his addiction take over his common sense. The reader still wants him to live although not as passionately as they do Lavinia. As you can see both stories both create tension and suspense to a high standard using the writers' choice of writing style and dramatic techniques to keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat. ...read more.

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