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How do 19thC prose writers create an atmosphere of tension and suspense in their Novels?

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Introduction

19th Centuary Prose Essay How do 19thC prose writers create an atmosphere of tension and suspense in their Novels? * The Ostler - Wilkie Collins * A Ghost story * The speckled Band - Arthur Conan Doyle * A Mystery Story * The Red Room - H. G. Wells * A Ghost Story Traditional Ghost Stories always contain a number of different elements. These elements, when put together, create an atmosphere of suspense and tension and it is a Writer's ability to use them that makes a good ghost story. In the 19thC there were fewer distractions, so people had a longer attention span. Radio, television and cinema did not exist. This meant that the style of writing was different. The style of writing at that time is now called 'Archaic'. Archaic writing uses longer sentences and for modern horror stories, is entirely unsuitable. However in the 18-1900's travel was minimal compared to today, and those who "read" would gain their knowledge of the wider world through what was contained in books. The mind is far better than any filmmaker at creating frightening pictures therefore it was easier for an Author to create an atmosphere using the reader's imagination rather than developing on what has been seen through the Media by today's readers. ...read more.

Middle

In the Red Room, the story is set in a large deserted castle, and there are only three old people guarding it. This gives the reader/main character an idea that if anything goes wrong there is no one to help him. In the Speckled Band, the story is set in an old ruined mansion that is said to date back to Saxon Times. This gives the house a history - an unknowing/shady past - and the mansion is set far away from the village. This gives the reader an idea of mysterious things that might have happened there. Pathetic Fallacy Pathetic fallacy is a technique used by many Authors and filmmakers alike. It is when the environment is used to make a point in the story. In the Ostler, pathetic fallacy is used to describe the moment of haunting. "The bleak autumn wind was still blowing, and the solemn monotonous surging moan of it in the wood was dreary and awful to hear through the night silence". In the Red Room the contrast is made between the warmth and comfort, and hence safety of the parlour, to the chill, damp and therefore threatening atmosphere of the passage. ...read more.

Conclusion

a result of easier access to information through advances in world technology, communication and education, there is, unfortunately far less respect for books, and hence they have less power than in the 19th Centuary. However, in these stories we have seen the masters at work, and to explore how their talent would entertain us today would be fascinating. For example: H G Well's consummate ability to invent and describe terrifying events, combined with today's cinematic technology would make the ultimate depiction of evil. The fact that a 21st C teenager, in a bustling classroom, can feel the hair prickle on the back of his neck through the magnificent use of the techniques described above, shows that despite familiarity with special effect, science and the space age, writers such as these can scare 150 years into the future. One wonders whether today's equivalents, King and Spielberg to name but two will be remembered in such a way in 2152. Reviews: Amid the foggy streets of sinister London and the even more sinister smiling countryside, Holmes and Watson once more solve the unsolvable. Penguin Books A handsome story of spooks, plenty of flesh-creeping matter here The Times Read at your peril, especially alone on a windy night! Oxford Press Danny J. White March 2002 ...read more.

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