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Examining the way in which H G Wells has conveyed the element of fear in The Red Room.

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Introduction

In the following essay, I will be examining the way in which H G Wells has conveyed the element of fear in The Red Room. In answering the question, I shall focus closely on certain points concerning fear and assess how successful the writer's methods in conveying this are. I will also, during the course of my essay, bid to include as many necessary quotations to help back up my points. The Red Room is a nineteenth century short story that examines the way that someone's life crosses with others' to dramatic effect. It is taken from the anthology of short stories "Telling Tales," that combines terrifying and sometimes mysterious tales. As an alternative to outlining the setting of the story, the writer chooses to open with a dialogue, directly between the narrator and a man with a withered arm. He is accompanied by an old woman with her eyes fixed on a fire and the later appearance of a man covered by a shade, described also as more bent, wrinkled and aged than the first person. The tone for a formidable and gloomy encounter is set when the narrator (also the protagonist of the piece) implies that "it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me." Contradicting the narrators positive state of mind, the man with the withered arm emphatically remarks that it is his own choosing, suggesting that he is not responsible for the narrator's intentions of entering a haunted room. ...read more.

Middle

His fears become increasingly critical when philosophising, "...one could well understand the legends that had sprouted in its black corners, its germinating darkness." Despite the candle remaining his biggest asset in consolidating his fears, however, not even that is powerful enough to help him see as far as the opposite side of the room as Wells points out on page four. The narrator continues his quest by systematically examining the place, "dispel the fanciful suggestions of its obscurity before they obtained a hold upon me" suggesting that the uncertainties were gradually defeating him, regardless of his efforts. He tries to ease his fears by tucking up the valances of the bed, opening the curtains wide, pulling up the blinds to examine the fastenings of several windows. He discovers two big mirrors; each with a pair of sconces bearing candles, which he lights one after the other. This symbolises that the dark was acting as a burden in easing his fears and that the candles' requirement was imminent, further clarified when he lights a fire to keep down any disposition to shiver. The narrator later admits that his examination of the room had done him good but he "still found the remoter darkness of the place, and its perfect stillness too stimulating for the imagination." This implies that his fears had been eased slightly despite his state of mind remaining in tatters. ...read more.

Conclusion

Ironic also to note because the effect the narrator's experience had on him was due to the build up of fear through the confusion of his surroundings. The entirety of his adventure was spent fighting off what his psychological state of mind suggested was a ghost or something disagreeable, despite it being fear all along causing him to react in the way he did. The narrator demands "There is neither ghost of earl nor ghost of countess in that room, there is no ghost there at all; but worse, far worse..." He then philosophises that it fear, the worst of all things that haunt poor mortal man, that is, in all its nakedness. This theory horrifies the audience and gives us a better overview of the narrator's emotions, which portray fear as an ultimate evil. It was fear that followed him through the corridor, fought against him in the room, not a ghost, or any living creature. The last few sentences find the story at its most profound and shocking as the writer expresses his feelings to us once more. "You can feel it even in the daytime, even of a bright summer's day, in the hangings, in the curtains, keeping behind you however you face it. In the dusk it creeps along the corridor and follows you, so you dare not turn." This clarifies the narrator's frustrations and improbability of his situation, as he is unable to defeat or do much about overturning the fate of his predicament. ...read more.

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