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Explain what makes a good mystery story, based on your understanding of 'The Red Room' by H.G. Wells The Red Room by H. G. Wells

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Explain what makes a good mystery story, based on your understanding of 'The Red Room' by H.G. Wells The Red Room by H. G. Wells The title 'The Red Room' immediately attracts the reader's attention; it is symbolic but leaves unanswered questions. "What is the red room?" Is this room dangerous? Overall the title raises so much curiosity wanting us to read on and find answers to our questions. Red is a very strong colour and is generally associated with blood, danger, warning, hell, and above all, fear, the title also shows the setting of the story. It makes you wonder why the room is called the red room and if it is actually red. The Red Room contains all the elements of a ghost story; the story is written to illustrate the nature of fear and is an insight into how it affects the human mind. This story contains all the features of a 19th century novel; it is set in an old derelict house, it involves moving through dark passages, and it involves a ghost/haunted room. It also contains all the features of a good short story. It has an effective opening, a realistic setting, a limited number of believable characters and has a plot with a clear conflict, a plot that builds suspense, excitement, and the plot has a twist at the end. The story is structured to create and sustain suspense, from the very beginning right through to the climax of the story where the man is overcome by total darkness. ...read more.


The young man is arrogant and curious, one man has a withered arm, another with a bad back and the woman just stares into the fire. This creates mystery as you wonder what the young man looks like. These attributes are chosen by the author to show a side of the character they only want you to see. The story begins in the 'old people's room' and the main plot is brought up straight away, which immediately engages the interest of the reader. This room, like much of the castle, is very dark and dreary, not very welcoming and everything is very old. It is typical of a 19th century room; it has a mirror at one end of the room and a fire near to the table. The setting of each room is described extremely acutely so as to make the reader think that they are actually there. When the young man leaves the room they all huddle together and none of them look him in the eye. This could be because they know that he is doomed and do not want him to think that they are responsible for him. Lastly it could be a sign to him that he is on his own. Whenever any one of the three old people speaks they leave sentences unfinished and open to interpretation. Everything about the old people is depressing, dismal and dreary. As he leaves the company of the other three, H. ...read more.


Again he uses personification when he says that: 'The shadows seemed to take another step towards me' Here he could be mystified, and looking for possible solutions for why the shadows appear to be moving towards him. This could suggest that he was in a slight state of panic. The paragraph from when the candle goes out gradually builds in tension and suspense. They involve a lot of short sentences, this is to increase and sustain the tension and suspense. You get a good sense of this increasing paranoia when he tries to give explanations for the extinguishing candles and his panic starting to creep into his actions when he is trying to relight the candles. Finally the suspense reaches the climax when his fear has taken his sense of reasoning and he tries to leave the room and accidently knocks him out. When he finally wakes up the next morning he realises that there was nothing supernatural about the room but only peoples fear of the unknown. The story keeps the reader guessing right up to the end of the story. The answer is not particularly clear and does not provide the reader with a final, conclusive answer. This keeps the reader wondering about the story after he/she has read it. The story reveals that there is no ghost in the room, just one man's battle with fear: "There is no ghost at all; but worse, far worse...Fear!" This makes you question whether he would have injured himself if he had not been told about the ghost story at all by the old people. This still gives a sense of mystery about the room after the answer has been given. ...read more.

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