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How does H.G Wells build suspense in the

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How does H.G Wells build suspense in the "red room"? H.G. Wells "red room "is a pre-twentieth century suspense short story, which is a type of a Gothic story. I shall examine the various techniques that the writer has used to create and sustain suspense. For the first part of the essay I shall explain what a Gothic story is. A Gothic story is a type of romantic fiction that predominated in English literature in the last third of the 18th century, the setting to for which was usually a ruined Gothic, Castle or Abbey. The Gothic novel or Gothic romance, emphasised mystery and horror and was filled with ghost haunted rooms, underground passages and secret stairways. For this reason it is told the "red room" is a Gothic story, this could also explain how suspense in the "red room" was formed. Also if I look at the genre of the story, suspense is built at the beginning by H.G. Well's description of the man with the withered arm, the woman looking into the fire, the second old man and the description of the house: "Flags in the passage outside." ...read more.


The narrator is trying not to appear afraid as he knows that being nervous is part of letting your mind believed that the room is haunted. He tries to be cheery, like when he puts lots of lighted candles around the room so that when the ghost came he would: "Worn him not to trip over them" Talking aloud also helped release his nervousness: "By Jove that draughts a strong on" It is a typical setting for a ghost story, for example, "Queer old Mirror" in the house, "a man with a withered arm", a second person with a stick, and a "shambling" step on the way into the room. A "spiral staircase" is part of the description to the "red room". "Candles" used to light the way makes it a dark, eerie atmosphere. The long "draughty subterranean passage was chilly and dusty" all examples used to create a Gothic like scene. Language style is very important in setting the scene and also letting us know what age this was set in, like when the old woman says: "This night of all nights" The narrator's language is very formal: "I will relieve you of the task of entertaining me" He says before he goes the red room. ...read more.


H. G. Wells tells in great detail the layout of the red room so we can tell what spot he is standing in, in the room. When the candles suddenly went out, he felt the darkness or the room immediately when he said: "The black shadow sprang back" The use of the word "sprang" makes you feel the suddenness of the darkness and brings tension back into the story. As the reader I know that the narrator is getting quite nervous: "A queer high note gets into his voice" These words were used to describe the darkness as candles were going out was so accurate. For example: "Like a ragged storm cloud sweeping out the stairs" Words used again to describe sudden darkness. The darkness became a: "Stifling embrace" too much for him to cope with. In my opinion H. G. Wells writes a very descriptive story. He manages throughout to convey a feeling of nervous tension and when he thinks that things are beginning to relax he introduces another unsettling point to the story. He keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes you wonder how the story will turn out. His use of descriptive words: "Deafens, darkens and overwhelms" makes the reader see this story in their minds my. ...read more.

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