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gothic horror

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Introduction

Generations of people have been frightened by stories of ghosts and magical happenings. Tales of unexplainable events fascinate children and adults alike. Haunted castles, myths and magic play with a reader's imagination and create suspense as the pages are turned. Gothic horror was mainly written during the romantic period of English literature, a time of improvement in society. As the public became more fascinated with spirituality, the human form gothic horror provided titillation and entertainment. Writers can create suspense in a number of ways. "The monkey's paw" and "The red room" display typical conversions of the genre, isolated, dark settings, arrogant characters to increase suspense and tension. In order to explore this, two pre 19th century stories are to be discussed. In "The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs, a family is caught up in the legend of a magical monkey's paw and its three wishes. In "The Red Room" by H. G. Wells, the hidden terrors of an isolated room that cause a man to question his beliefs. This essay will analyse how both these stories effectively create suspense through characters, setting, structures and language devices. The language of the story also creates anxiety in the reader if chosen correctly. In "the monkey's paw" there is lots of dialogue used, "... it gave me a shock all the same" direct speech is vital in stories to show the relationship between the characters also it gets the reader close to the characters in the story. By reading what characters are saying we can begin to understand how they are feeling? The type of sentences used in a story can form suspense and in "the monkey's paw" there is use of short, sharp sentences. "it's Herbert!" she screamed "it's Herbert" the short sentences creates a feeling of excitement and rapidity but there are also examples of long sentences, "... fusillade of knocks reverberated through the house, ... ...read more.

Middle

"The red room" uses a completely different type of structure which is also effective in generating suspense. From the beginning of the story, suspense and anxiety in the reader is steadily increased and eventually leads to the climax, where the tension is at its highest. Even after the climax suspense is still present in lower levels to ensure the reader does not lose interest. The setting of "The Monkey's Paw" creates suspense in a number of ways. Suspense is created at the beginning of the story, as it is typical of most horror genre stories. Jacobs says: "...the night was cold and wet", the weather adds to the haunting theme as it is cold and wet. The story is set at night time scarier setting than a daytime setting. The darkness and the weather create suspense because people are afraid of the dark. We do not know what is hiding in the dark. Many horror stories use this technique, so the reader expects something to happen. A contrast to the inside and the outside is also used to build up atmosphere. The inside is warm and friendly whereas the outside is cold and dangerous. This is additionally typical of a horror story and produces expectations. The reader is in suspense as they know something terrible will happen but again they are not sure what. This is illustrated when the weather gets worse as the story goes on: "...the wind was higher than ever." This makes the reader uneasy and they are anxious to know what will happen next. In the 'Monkey's Paw' suspense is created in the reader using description of the setting. The White's house is described as being isolated: "That's the worst of living so far out,... out of the way... only two houses in the road are let" The reader will know, from their own familiarity with the genre that something awful will happen in the house, as most settings for horror stories are located away isolated from civilization. ...read more.

Conclusion

. The language of a text is exceptionally vital; a writer should apply a wide variety of devices available and select the one which create suspense and to make the story enjoyable to read. Language is one of the easiest ways to build suspense as the choices of words used can make enormous imageries. The characters of the story should all put some impact in the story; no matter how small their part is. The setting of a scary story must have a creepy atmosphere which is preserved through out the story. The writer needs to discover diverse structures and choose the one, which is suitable for the plot of that typical story. I think the language of 'The red room creates much more suspense than 'The Monkey's Paw' because it is more complicated. And so the reader has to read the story more slowly to understand it. The language in the 'The Monkey's Paw' is very basic and it just there to move the story along. The characters in "the monkey's paw" add more suspense to the story. It's through the direct speech and the characters behaviour where the reader learns the most. Although both writhers use the same technique to create suspense though the setting, the setting of the "the red room" is more effective. This is because there is more setting to describe as the story is set in a "haunted" castle, where as "the monkey's paw" is just set in a house. The structure of 'The Monkey's Paw' builds up tension and then releases it. This happens three times. The reader wants to know what will happen next, which creates lots of suspense. The reader also knows something awful will happen because it is a very clich´┐Ż horror story. Both stories have its individual strengths and weakness. I consider both writers to be very successful in generating suspense and anxiety through out the story. Sharifullah Yaquby 11C English coursework: Gothic Horror ...read more.

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