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How does H.G Wells create, maintain and release tension in The Red Room?

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How does H.G Wells create, maintain and release tension in The Red Room? By Verity Treverton-Jones H G Wells wrote the Red Room in 1896. He was famous for writing science fiction and gothic fiction. The story is typically gothic because it was written during the Victorian period and around this time the fashion was gothic mainly because it was an escape from repressed society. Others writers in this genre were Mary Shelley, Brain Stoker and Radcliff, Herbert George Wells was an English man and he also wrote a famous book called 'The Time Machine'. The title "The Red Room "immediately attracts the reader ; it is symbolic but leaves unanswered questions. "What is the red room?" "Why is it red?" We associate red with fear and danger. Is this room dangerous? Overall the title rises so much curiosity that it has an overwhelming effect, wanting us to read on find answers to our question. The story begins in a quiet room with many old aged people whom all seem silenced. None have names they are all known as "the man with..." or "the woman with..." Only one man speaks, yet no one replies. "I can assure you" said I, "that it will take every tangible ghost to frighten me" From this first line, the reader can assume two pieces of information. Firstly that this story involves a ghost, and secondly that the character is an educated and well-read man. I think the writer is using first person narrative to make the reader feel and believe realism within the story. H G Wells also uses short sentences at the beginning, I believe he does this to set a slow pace to the start but this seems only to the first paragraph maybe indicating the old people being more fragile to being slow. The young man is sceptical about the red room being haunted the three elder people believe that it is haunted and dare not even go there. ...read more.


He mentions the young duke's death, which makes the reader wonder whether he was scared to death or if there was actually something "tangible", there. "The shadow in the alcove at the end in particular had that indefinable quality of a presence, that odd suggestion of a lurking, living thing that comes so easily in silence and solitude." Again, this shows us how darkness is far more frightening than being able to see and knowing what is there. Tension is built by how the young man expresses his feelings. To conquer his fear of the unknown the man places a candle in an alcove in the corner of the room. Tension mounts as her begins talking to himself, but after listening to the eerie echoes, he gets more frightened than before. The tension increases now all the time. He is getting more nervous and he feels the need for more candles. He has to get some from the corridor and he lights them and places them around the room. His spirits lift but there is also tension created through his black humor. He may be watching what he describes as "cheery and reassuring little streaming flames," but he is getting nervous and he jokes about how he should warn any ghost about tripping over a candle on the floor. Then it happens. The first candle goes out, casting a black shadow on the wall. The second candle goes out and the tension in the story is boosted as there is uncertainty about why the candle went out. Although the man does not feel any draft, he claims that it was a draft that blew it out. He tries to reassure himself by lying to himself although he has a deeper feeling that he may not be alone. He has to dismiss this from his mind otherwise he would become the victim of his own fears. ...read more.


In the middle H G Wells structures the paragraphs shorter and more descriptive. He does this to give a sense of sharpness and to give more mystery to the short story. All in all I believe that H G Wells does maintain, create and release tension using different ways such as language devices like hidden metaphors and very strong imagery. The overall structure has been planned according to the tension amongst the characters and storylines. The tension in the story is unknown is some places, in any passage relating to the unknown could build tension and in almost all passages it does. In the story, the man has a revolver. This symbolises violence, which leads to conflict, and conflict builds to tension. Fire symbolises warmth and wards of the evil but the fear that was in the room with the young man it was like fear was another person , the using of capitals for that word fear , does to the reader symbolise it was like a person stalking the young man like the shadows that were in the story. The old people with disabilities symbolises the fear inside him and how he would not like to end his life. However, at the en, he does become like them, talking in there style about what had happened. Without vocabulary for example adjectives and verbs etc, the Red Room wouldn't make sense and the writer wouldn't have produced such an outstanding gothic and fearful tale of The Red Room. In my opinion using gothic genre and frightening things is what mainly creates the tension and as the gothic genre has been used all the way through this piece then H G Wells certainly created, maintained and released the tension of The Red Room and through-out keeps the attention span to it's full, and that is what always makes a great short story. By Verity Treverton-Jones 11e 1 Verity Treverton-Jones ...read more.

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