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How do writers of 19th century stories create tension and suspense

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English 11A How do writers of 19th century stories create tension and suspense? The writers in 19th century stories create tension and suspense through the use of gothic horror. This style of writing is designed to frighten and panic and cause dread and alarm. It innovates our hidden worst fears often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in a cathartic experience. Horrors effectively centre on the dark side of life, the forbidden, and the strange and alarming events. It deals with the audience's most primal nature and its fears. This may include nightmares, vulnerability, alienation, revulsions, and terror of the unknown, fear of the death and dismemberment, loss of identity and fear of sexuality. Horrors can play on our physical fears, such as grotesque scenes and frightening characters, or our psychological fears, tapping into our dreams states and the horror of irrational and unknown, and the horror within man himself. There are many examples of gothic fiction, here are a few: The Red Room, The Monkey's Paw, The Signalman, Desiree's Baby, Clubfooted Grocer, these are the stories that I will be analysing. More horror stories include Frankenstein, Dracula and The Golem. The following essay will examine, how the writers of 19th century stories create tension and suspense through the use of the four main features, such as setting, character, hints and time delay. ...read more.


This is developed further by the simile, 'shadowed it like a pall' which the reader immediately associates with death, depression and despair. The description given for the nighttime in Clubfooted Grocer, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Monkey's Paw also links with The Red Room. 'It was quite dark outside, with heavy black clouds drifting slowly across the sky.' This is a use of pathetic fallacy, it is ominous, and it establishes that danger is coming. Another use of pathetic fallacy can be identified in The Monkey's Paw. 'Without, the night was cold and wet' This is typical of gothic horror. It proposes that something dreadful is going to happen. Both these stories can be linked with The Red Room 'Even with seven candles the place was merely dim.' This suggests that The Red Room is very dark, murky and gloomy. This creates tension and suspense amongst the reader. Now I have learned how the setting created tension and suspense next I will look at how the characters create tension and suspense. Most characters in these 19th century stories are often nameless. This can be observed in The Red Room and The Monkey's Paw. In The Red Room the reader immediately identifies that the characters are nameless. 'I can assure' This adds suspense and mystery because the reader was not able to know the character properly makes the reader feel what is it that these characters could be hiding and also the fact that the gender of these characters was not given also makes the reader wonder. ...read more.


This quote displays the narrator's uncertainty towards The Signalman's character and the fact that 'should' is a modal verb also expresses his doubtfulness. Now I have analysed how the hints created tension and suspense, next I will discuss how time delay has kept the reader engaged in the text. In the last paragraph of The Monkey's paw, the author uses various techniques such as the constant knocking. This repetition makes the reader tense. It reminds the reader that evil is behind that door as Herbert has returned and he is disfigured. Similarly in The Red Room the author holds back what is inside The Red Room until the last paragraph. The reader is tensed by the incomplete sentence. In Desiree's Baby, the author reveals the truth about Armand's background in the last paragraph. This makes the reader evaluate the whole story. Desiree's suffering and pain was all unnecessary. This ending comes as a shock to the reader and makes it an effective twist. In conclusion, the techniques that have been used to create tension and suspense are: setting, character, hints and time delay. All these four main features where really effective in creating tension and suspense as they all kept the reader engaged to the stories. Overall I think that the story that may have been the most successful in achieving this is Desiree's Baby. I think this because the ending of this story was a shock and surprise to the reader; moreover the reader felt sympathy for Desiree as she suffered needless pain from her husband. ...read more.

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