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How does John Buchan create suspense in the book "The Thirty-Nine Steps"?

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Specialist Study: The Thirty Nine Steps How does John Buchan create suspense in the book "The Thirty-Nine Steps"? "The Thirty Nine Steps" by John Buchan is about a man who has to escape London to find the real criminals behind a political assassination. The author throughout the story uses many techniques to create suspense through using the main character Richard Hannay. In the first chapter sets the scene by giving some background history of Hannay's life before he gets a visit for Scudder. Buchan in the first few pages of the book is already creating the feeling of suspense when Hannay and Scudder meet outside Hannay's flat. The line, "Is the door locked? He asked feverishly." This gives me the image that Scudder is really nervous. I feel this creates the impression that something quite serious is going on and that the rest of the story is also going to be exciting. Buchan ends the chapter quite suddenly by finishing with, "My guest was lying sprawled on his back. ...read more.


"The little man told me a pack of lies" I feel this created suspense because Hannay is now lost and if it wasn't for Scudders notebook he would have to give himself in. After Hannay is nearly caught by a policeman, I felt that he had no longer any who could help him, it was as if it was him against everyone. "my friends at the inn had come to the understanding, and we were united in desiring to see more of me". Then follows an action packed section of the story. The plane that found him before finds Hannay and then he crashes the car and his nearly killed. This gave great suspense as I was faced with the idea that he might be killed at any time, and he would not be able to stop the political assassination that was about to happen. When Hannay spots his enemies in the hills of Scotland he begins to think clearly. He thinks of the time he changed roles with the milkman when he was trying to leave London and thinks he must do the same now. ...read more.


"Thirty-nine steps-I counted them-High tide, 10.17pm". I was now very much interested as Buchan as built the story about this section. I also became interested in the story as I thought to myself Hannay might now save the day. As Hannay begins to figure out what the thirty-nine steps are, I become more positive that he would save the day. I felt that there was a lot of suspense here so Buchan could give the ending a maximum impact. When Hannay burst in on the group of criminals he thought he had made a terrible mistake but he noticed that he had seen on of the men from when he was held at gunpoint. "I had stood before him in the moor land farm, with pistols of his servants behind me". Everything had now fallen in to place and I knew Hannay would catch the group of criminals. Hannay and his troops chased them and caught them. I feel that John Buchan has succeeded in creating suspense through use of the main character Richard Hannay. Which I thought made the story action packed and interesting. Word Count: 1,084 words. 1 1 ...read more.

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