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How did writers of nineteenth century short stories create and maintain a sense of mystery for their readers

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Introduction

How did writers of nineteenth century short stories create and maintain a sense of mystery for their readers? Compare the different ways in which these mysteries are resolved. In the nineteenth century more people started to read short stories. This was because in the nineteenth century working hours shortened which gave workers more leisure time. In the nineteenth century though there was no television or radio, the only entertainment that was easy to get hold of was reading. Short stories were more popular than novels because they were easier to read than novels. Napoleon and the Spectre Napoleon and the Spectre was written by Charlotte Bront� when she was 17 years old. It was one of her earliest pieces of writing. Charlotte Bront� then went on to write several other famous books, a very well known one would be 'Jane Eyre'. Charlotte Bront� died in 1855, one year after marrying. 'Well, as I was saying, the Emperor got into bed.' This first line of the story draws the reader in. It is as if the writer was in a middle of a conversation with the reader about the Emperor. In the third paragraph you get an inkling that the Spectre is about. The writer uses sound to show this. 'a slight rustling'. Another clue that the Spectre is about is when the Emperor's pillow goes hard for no reason. These two clues build up a climax in the story but is soon let down by the Emperor instead of exploring the noise just goes back to sleep. In the fourth paragraph there is another climax, a deep groan is heard from the closet in the Emperor's room. The writer likes to use sound to show that the Spectre is about; this is good because it builds up good tension. It also builds up tension well because it is a deep groan which makes it sound painful, very ghost like, the writer is keeping to the idea of a classic unhappy ghost. ...read more.

Middle

Unlike 'Napoleon and the Spectre' the writer is not talking directly to the reader but to another character in the book. One of the most important points of the story is the deadliness of this germ, Cholera, and how the writer portrays it. When the writer describes the germ he uses personification, examples of this would be treating death like it was a human. The writer gives a distinct image of death lurking around the village, being powerful and saying the destruction it causes. "death - mysterious, untraceable death, death swift and terrible, death full of pain and indignity - would be released upon this city, go hither and thither seeking his victims. Here he would take the husband from the wife, here the child from the mother." "Picking out and punishing a house here and a house there." The writer also uses repetition of the word death to create a horrible vision of death, making sure Cholera is given a terrible image. This whole section uses the sense of sight, giving the reader dreadful images of Cholera. In the next paragraph the writer though uses a lot of speech and less imagery. The Bacteriologist makes the fatal mistake of telling the Anarchist that they should use this kind of germ instead of bombs, of course the Bacteriologist did not know he was telling the anarchist this he believed he was talking to a fellow scientist. The Bacteriologist hears a knock at the door and leaves to go get it. The anarchist follows saying he has an appointment at four and most go. It is at this point that the Bacteriologist realises his Cholera germ has been stolen by the Anarchist. There is a feeling of panic and alarm as he talks to his wife, Minnie about the missing germ. "Minnie!' he shouted hoarsely in the hall. 'Yes, dear,' came a remote voice. 'Had I anything in my hand when I spoke to you, dear, just now?' ...read more.

Conclusion

He discovers that in Helen's room, which was previously Julia's room, that there is a dummy bell rope ' This is very interesting. You can see now that it is fastened to a hook just above where the little opening for the ventilator is' he also spots that the ventilators do not ventilate. This allows the reader to attempt to solve the puzzles alongside Holmes which keeps them intrigued. Another clue is revealed upon the discovery of a saucer of milk on Dr Roylett's desk. Doyle has given the reader enough clues to solve the mystery themselves, however he has also littered the case with red herrings. This adds to the intrigue and tension within the story. Towards the end of the story Doyle uses a conversation between Watson and Holmes to highlight the significant clues. This keeps the clues fresh in the readers mind and again gives them the opportunity to solve the case themselves. This is a clever literary device as it keeps the reader who wants to solve the crime themselves interested but for those who are not keen to do the work they still want to read on as they are aware they are near to the solution becoming evident. The story concludes with Holmes pulling all the pieces of evidence together and giving a blow by blow description of the events. This was my favourite of the three stories. I particularly liked the way Doyle gave the reader the opportunity to solve the crime themselves. This keeps the reader actively involved with the story and makes them eager to read on to gather more and more evidence. I enjoyed the manner in which Doyle makes you care for the victim and therefore get behind Holmes in his attempts to solve the crime, even though all along you know he will. This style of writing would encourage readers to want to read more Doyle stories as you would develop an affection for Watson and Holmes. Almost as though they were personal friends. Stephanie Dunne Stephanie Dunne ...read more.

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