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How do the writers create episodes of fear and horror in Pre-20th century stories?

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Introduction

How do the writers create episodes of fear and horror in Pre-20th century stories? The Pre-20th century horror stories include: "A Terribly Strange Bed" by Wilkie Collins, "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" by Arthur Conan Doyle, and "The Sea-Raiders" by H.G. Wells. These stories are similar in many ways but also have their differences; mainly the type of fear they generate. "The Sea-Raiders" tends to draw on a fear of the unknown and it has a more grotesque approach with the creatures, but a "Terribly Strange Bed" makes you feel scared because you are not sure who is doing this to you and if it's really happening, as the mechanism of the bed is very fiendish. Similar to "The Sea-Raiders", "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" is also a fear of the unknown as it is a mystery, but it also creates an episode of horror because the two of the characters are sitting in the dark and there have already been previous murders. The main emotions generated in all three stories is fear and horror but it is perhaps a different type of horror we are used to today, as all the stories are set in around 1880, even though you feel that some of the events could still occur now. "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" (by Arthur Conan Doyle) is a classic Sherlock Holmes murder-mystery story. ...read more.

Middle

Thankfully, he manages to save himself and run to the police, who discover all the cruel mysteries of the bed. The fear produced by this story is quite similar to "The Sea-Raiders" and "The Speckled Band" but also introduces many different elements in contrast to them. Like "The Adventure of the Speckled Band", "A Terribly Strange Bed" is also in a first person narrative which also makes this story very effective in that sense. You can empathise with him much more as you can share his thoughts and what he is feeling, but in third person you cannot feel as if you are there as much, it is more impersonal. This story uses striking sentence structure and punctuation much more to create a sense of panic and terror whereas the other stories use conventions and plot-lines to make it scarier. As the beginning of the scene, where the bed has begun its descent, a lot of punctuation is used, especially question marks, exclamation marks and dashes. "Good God! The man had pulled his hat down on his brows - No! - the hat itself was gone!" The use of exclamation marks shows emotion, you can see that he is thinking very fast, he is obviously feeling panic and agitation, and he is very alarmed, especially as he is not sure what is happening. The dashes portray a lack of self-control, the speech is very incoherent, what he is seeing, thinking and feeling is very illogical. ...read more.

Conclusion

This word also shows that the tentacles are manoeuvring quickly and with easy movement which makes the squids even more frightening and creepy. "The Adventure of the Speckled Band", "A Terrible Strange Bed" and "The Sea-Raiders" all use a variety of techniques, but all create episodes of horror and fear. In my opinion, I think the most frightening story is "The Adventure of the Speckled Band". This is because of the conventional elements it involves, plus, even though it is a Pre-20th century story, it could easily be modernised, which would still be scary or maybe even more so. The darkness, silence and waiting for an unknown something related to murder seems much more frightening to me, especially when they are all combined. "The Sea-Raiders" I think has an approach more of making you feel squeamish when describing the creatures, scared to, but not as much as the other two. "The Sea-Raiders" is the only story not written in first person, and although the story is enhanced by other qualities it possesses, it does not lack a certain feeling of emotion and the reader does tend to feel slightly detached. In my view, I believe that it is full of description but not enough feelings and thoughts from characters. "A Terrible Strange Bed" is quite a frightening story in the way it narrates the bed descending and the classic grouped adverbs do introduce more tension and emotions which is helped along by first person narrative, but "The Speckled Band" also has this and much more. ...read more.

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