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Examine the techniques used to create tension and suspence in The Tell-Tale Heart and The Red Room

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The stories of, The Tell-Tale heart and The Red Room are both set in the 18th century where gothic mystery stories dominated in English Literature. Tension and suspence is created using narrative techniques like plot development, characterisation and the settings of the stories. Here I will examine these points. In Tell-Tale Heart, the writer has used a stereotypical setting for a horror story, night time. For seven nights the man would peek though the old mans door. 'And this I did for seven long nights -every night at midnight,' the writer makes the reader immediately know that this story is not a happy story or a funny story just by presentation that its dark and midnight. The whole story is located at the home of the old man. The old man had his shutters closed because of fear of robbers and the room was pitch black at the time, 'His room was black as pitch with the rich darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers).' This made it easier for the man to open the door because he knew that the old man would not be able to see, 'So I knew that he could not see the opening of the door.' ...read more.


The way that Edgar-Alan Poe has made the story into a first person adds to the fact that he man is mad and puts the reader into the mindset of a madman. The man even bases his intelligence on how well he committed the murder, 'Hah! Would a madman be so wise as this?' In the end, the man is portrayed as a mad person who is gaining a kick out of the murder, but as we see, the end result is his guilt. The characters in the red-room include the old people and the narrator. Throughout the story the only way the reader knows the old people is by their physical differences, like, 'the man with the withered arm,' and, 'the the man with the cough.' This makes them very distantly related to the narrator and to normal humans who puts questions into the reader's mind of their presence and why they have these disabilities. The reader does not actually know whether the old people are actually ghosts, supernatural beings or just normal humans, 'They seemed to belong to another age, and older age, and age when things spiritual were different from this of ours, less certain; an age when omens and witches were credible, and ghosts beyond denying.' ...read more.


This can make the reader also feel how the narrator is feeling vicariously because in the occasion the reader must follow what the reader thinks is going to happen. Repetition of the same sentence gives multiple warnings to the man that something will happen, 'Its your own choosing,' the reader knows that this only means that something bad is eventually going to happen and wants the narrator to know as well, which can build up tension in the readers mind. Little information is given about the old people, there are no explanations of why they are there or who put them there, this is the main cause of a build up of tension in the red room, as well as the concept of delaying thoughts and processes by other irrelevant actions. The main ways in which tension and suspense are created in both stories is the use of the gothic genre and traditional setting for a horror story. Both of the stories use the concept of pathetic fallacy and characters that have anomalous features. In the red room there are old people who have various disabilities and in the tell tale heart the man seems to have cataracts. The use of these things can make the reader expect something bad from the beginning. ?? ?? ?? ?? Examine the techniques used to create tension and suspence in 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and 'The Red Room' ...read more.

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