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Consider the effects that each writer has created and how that contributes to atmosphere and tension

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Consider the effects that each writer has created and how that contributes to atmosphere and tension In this piece of coursework I will analyse and compare three pre- 20th century short stories. The stories are called, The Red Room written by H.G. Wells, The Signalman written by Charles Dickens and The Man with the Twisted Lip written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story of The Red Room by H.G.Wells was written in 1896 when gothic Horror stories were in fashion. As a short story H.G.Wells has to set the scene, introduce the characters and keep the reader interested in a short space of time. He does this by creating tension and a vivid setting. The opening is in a medieval castle, later called "Lorraine Castle" which is described as "ghostly". This is just like an example of a typical gothic derelict castle. This mention of the supernatural is linked in with the main theme of the story. The deformed characters, strange settings, ominous warnings and the story being told in first person means that atmosphere and tension are quickly developed. ...read more.


We now know that the narrator has come to this castle to go to the red room to live out his vigil. The comments made by the other characters just before he leaves make the reader wonder what is so bad about The Red Room." Are you really going"- " This night of all nights". When the narrator finally sets off on his journey to the red room it is described in great detail, which continually creates tension for the reader. The name The Red Room itself suggests danger and death especially with the colour red being used, which is traditionally associated with danger and death. The beginning of the journey is down a "long, draughty subterranean passage" which is "chilly and dusty". His candle "flared and made the shadows cower and quiver"."The echoes rang up and down the spiral staircase". The very thought that the shadows are cowering and quivering make the reader wonder what supernatural forces are at work to make these scary objects become scared themselves. ...read more.


There is a distinct lack of light in the room and that enhances the fact that without light the narrator cannot see into the darkness. With not being able to see the whole room the reader's imagination is allowed to come into play and imagine what could be hidden in the lurking darkness. He describes the darkness as 'germinating' almost like it is a disease slowly moving towards him to swallow him. He starts lighting candles that barely do anything in the darkness. We finally see the narrator actually becoming scared of the room." I was in a state of considerable nervous tension". He even begins to sing to drown out the deathly silence that starts to create 'unpleasant echoes'. Towards the end of the story all of the lights and candles in the room start to go out one by one until there is total darkness. In comparison to the rest of the story the ending was an anti-climax as it was not a ghost that forced him and his predecessors out of the room but fear itself. All through the story there is vivid description of the setting, which constantly builds tension and atmosphere for the reader. Steven Davis ...read more.

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