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Examine the ways in which a climate of fear is created in the stories you have read. Which do you think is the most effective?

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Introduction

Examine the ways in which a climate of fear is created in the stories you have read. Which do you think is the most effective? A climate of fear is usually created in horror and ghost stories. For example; 'The Black Cat', 'Power Cut' and 'The Landlady'. This is usually done by using the setting, focusing on the victim, the villain, the language used and social, historical or cultural differences. The Black Cat uses the setting; the story is set in a dark dingy cellar. The cellar is a confined space. We're told it's damp and has recently been plastered; 'its walls were loosely constructed, and had lately been plastered throughout with a rough plaster, which the dampness of the atmosphere had prevented from hardening'. We don't have much sympathy for the victim in the black cat. The victim is the wife of the villain. We don't know anything about her, her name isn't mentioned, she doesn't even speak and there's no description of her. This is quite unusual for a horror story not to focus on the victim. Normally if we get to sort of know the victim we care more and we'd have more sympathy for them. ...read more.

Middle

The villain in this story is the son. He is dead before the story begins, we only hear about him from his parents talking about him and on the answering machine. All through his life his behaviour has been appalling. In death, the sons voice on the answering machine is as if he's reaching out from beyond the grave his voice is menacing and creepily mocking . The old lady and the cat also become villains. The old lady has become a ghost and is scaring the father. The cat has become quite menacing in death. "the howl of a cat, the loud, resonant, desperate wauling cry of a cat that has been shut up in a box or basket and is frantic to get out." The language used in the power cut is very descriptive and creates a lot of tension. The author has used some powerful verbs. He has also used personification to describe the weather for example: 'The wind, like a flapping blanket, beat and thrashed and swung and slapped and buffeted making each casement rattle, every door sway and creak. ...read more.

Conclusion

And she then replies: "Oh, I am, my dear, I am, of course I am. But the trouble is that I'm inclined to be just a teeny weeny bit choosy and particular-if you see what I mean." 'The Landlady' is written in third person narrative also. It's very descriptive, but doesn't use metaphorical language; it's all very matter-of-fact. It creates a feeling of things being ultra-normal for example-the fire, the dog and the tea tray. It's an old-fashioned story but also modern too. It's old-fashioned in the sense that it's set in around the forties. It says that the young man, Billy is dressed in a suit and wearing a trilby. But it's also modern in the way the killer is a woman, this is presented as being more acceptable. This isn't very traditional or typical for a horror story. I suppose that's what makes this story seem quite creepy and strange. A climate of fear is created in all of these stories quite well. The one that I think is the most effective would have to be 'The Landlady' -it's very sinister, out of the ordinary and not very traditional. I like the way in which the author has chosen a woman to be the villain because it's not really expected. ...read more.

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