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How Do Pre 1914Writers Create Mystery And Suspense In Their Short Stories?

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Introduction

How Do Pre 1914 Writers Create Mystery And Suspense In Their Short Stories? Common themes in the stories of the nineteenth century are horror, mystery and the unexplained. This is because in the Victorian times, people were concerned with problems such as superstition and witchcraft. Common features of Victorian short stories are paranoid characters. The stories 'The Withered Arm', 'The Red Room' and 'The Signalman' teach a modern audience the results and consequences of superstition and paranoia. The Withered Arm was written by Thomas Hardy. It is about a woman who is trying to bring up her illegitimate son while she tries to overcome her jealousy as her sons father brings home his new beautiful wife. The main message that Thomas Hardy is trying to get across to the reader is that you should be careful what you wish for as it may come true. Also that what goes around comes around. The main character in this story is Rhoda Brook, the mother of farmer Lodges son. In the story she is described as 'a thin fading woman of thirty' this shows that she is slowly wasting away. Rhoda Brooks is a mysterious character because the reader doesn't know whether Rhoda is a witch or not, Thomas Hardy doesn't reveal this fact because it makes the story mysterious and leaves the reader wondering. ...read more.

Middle

I think that the type of narration that is the most effective is the stories written in the first person, which is used in The Signalman. This is because it makes the reader feel more involved in the story. The purpose of the narrator is to tell the story from their point of view and their perspective. The narrator introduces the reader to the other characters in the story. In The Withered Arm there are many other characters apart from Rhoda Brook. For example there is Farmer Lodge, conjuror Trendle, Rhoda's son, milking maids and Gertrude. At the start of the story Gertrude is described as 'a rosy-cheecked-titsy-totsy little body enough' this shows that she is bouncy, lively, skinny and perfect. She is also described as 'A lady complete.' This shows that she is every thing a lady should be. However towards the end of the story she is described as 'longed for the death of a fellow creature.' This shows the reader that she has turned into a creature longing for the death of someone. Gertrude's character changes dramatically from the start to the end. At the beginning she is bouncy, friendly and perfect, however at the end she becomes irritable, superstitious and desperate for her looks so that she can win back her husband. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was made through a clammy stone, that became oozier and wetter as I went down.' This shows that it was a wet but clammy time of year probably spring which gives the idea of new begging's. Nothing more is described about the setting. Techniques that are used to increase the reader's sense of suspense are pathetic fallacy, personification and excess punctuation. The story that has the most mysterious setting is in The Withered Arm. This is because it has examples of personification, pathetic fallacy and has more descriptions in it. Also because it enables the reader to visualise the settings better. I think that the setting in The Signalman represent loneliness. The setting in The Red Room represents paranoia and terror and the setting in The Withered Arm represent fear and superstition. Therefore, Victorian writers successfully created mysterious short stories through using chapters, less characters and detailed setting. The most effective story is The Withered Arm this is because it has the most imaginative and interesting story line. Also because Thomas Hardy doesn't reveal everything to the reader as it lets them debate over whether Rhoda is a witch or not. It shows a modern audience the effects and consequences of superstition. The moral or message of the story may have been be careful what you wish for as it may come true. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1Lauren O'loghlen ...read more.

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