• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does setting and atmosphere contribute to suspense in "The Black Cat" and "The Red Room"? It is especially important in short stories to create suspense very quickly. In

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does setting and atmosphere contribute to suspense in "The Black Cat" and "The Red Room"? It is especially important in short stories to create suspense very quickly. In both "The Red Room" and "The Black Cat" the authors build up an atmosphere almost immediately. Both stories are similar in that they are both told in the first person. This makes the stories seem more personal and the reader feels involved as they experience similar emotions. If anything is described to sound foreboding or eerie then this is a description of the protagonist's feelings. For example in "The Red Room" the reader is told one of the old men has a "withered arm" about six times in the opening of the narrative. As the narrative is being told by the protagonist, this shows he finds this disturbing, showing the reader that his apparent confidence is phoney. The beginning of each story has a different tone. It is a sinister tone that starts "The Black Cat" where the persona has resigned to death- "But tomorrow I die," This automatically builds up suspense because the reader immediately wonders why the persona will die, how does he know? This contrasts with the opening of "The Red Room" where the tone is confident and pompous. ...read more.

Middle

However, the protagonist describes the old man talking to him at the end "no longer as one who greets an intruder, but as one who grieves for a broken friend." This obvious human quality is a complete contrast to the beginning. After his suffering he is no longer scared but glad to be in company because wants to feel safe. Therefore the negative remarks about the old people are replaced by the positive. Edgar Allen Poe uses the psychological complexity of the protagonist to create tension and entice the reader to read on in "The Black Cat". The narrative explores the evils of alcohol and the speed at which humans can be infected; in fact Poe calls it a "disease". Poe speaks from personal experience about the evils of alcohol. Another theme is perverseness and its place as one of the evils in human nature. Poe makes the reader feel shame for the terrible flaws of humanity. As the narrative is written in the first person it seems to take the form of a confession. The protagonist begins writing as if it is to someone because he says "I neither expect nor solicit belief". He is implying that he does not care if the reader believes he needs to clear his conscience. ...read more.

Conclusion

This simple language at key points means the action is not obscured by complex vocabulary. However, when the emotions felt are more important than the action, the language is more complex to encourage the reader to empathise with the protagonist. Both short stories are successful in that they effectively create suspense and engage the reader. "The Black Cat" can be interpreted on many levels. It can be read as a story about an unlucky sequence of events but it is also contains superstition, perverseness and the evils of alcohol. Poe creates a very complex character which fascinates the reader. He discusses a variety of philosophical and sociological issues. The suspense comes from the dilemma of the character but there is also shame because Poe suggests his actions are something all humans are capable of doing. "The Red Room" on the other hand is a frightening but nonetheless enjoyable read because of the detailed description of the setting. The description of the protagonist when in the red room is well written and the reader feels his fear. Suspense is created from his earlier over confidence and we wait for something bad to happen. I prefer "The Black Cat" because the description is so thorough; the story is dramatic and demonstrates a complex range of emotions. Matthew Barden ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE H.G. Wells section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE H.G. Wells essays

  1. How Are Suspense and Tension Created in The Red Room?

    that the language suggests it would have to be real and not just a rumour. As he travels to the red room his anxiety grows because things like the shadows and echoes begin to unnerve him so he is becoming jumpy, "I was about to advance but stopped abruptly."

  2. Compare and contrast the techniques used by the writers to create a sense of ...

    This is gothic and scary because it is describing something scary like a ghost or spirit or perhaps he is just imagining things because of the intimidating surroundings. Wells says words like 'shadow' then 'marvellous distinctness'; this increases the tension built because these words make the setting more daunting as

  1. How does H.G.Wells develop atmosphere and suspense in the opening section of The Red ...

    shows the feels vulnerable to anything and he wants to check every possibility. This gives the effect on the reader that the protagonist is very systematic and had a rational way of thinking. From line 18 to 23 of paragraph 3 there is a sense of irrational thinking.

  2. An Ispector Calls

    He is not concerned about what Mr Birling says, the result of which is to try to threaten and intimidate the Inspector. He brushes off the sarcastic comments of Mr Birling, and continues by 'Cutting through, massively' and carrying on his with his account or Eva Smith.

  1. The Red Room and The Monkey's Paw(Compare and Contrast)

    the reader he is afraid in his own way even though he doesn't show it. He also is afraid when he sees a shadow as it is crouching "I stood rigid for half a minute". This tells the reader that he is afraid.

  2. How does the writer build up suspense and present the supernatural in 'The Red ...

    It says, "Craving for renewed love." She doesn't feel loved beautiful anymore. "My husband - dislike me - no I love me less". This shows that he doesn't love her for who she is but just because she's beautiful. Also in "The Withered Arm", Rhoda is suspected of being a

  1. PRE-1914 PROSE

    it is odd how Isaac is so attracted to this stranger woman. Some of the women were represented as powerless and cunning in these strange and superstitious stories just like how they were at the time these stories were written.

  2. What Do We Learn From The Setting Of the Bar Of Gold And The ...

    In ' The Man with the Twisted Lip', the setting, Upper Swandam Lane is described as a 'vile valley lurking' near the wharves. This gives the impression that the area is degraded and distasteful. The bar of gold is in the midst of 'a slop shop' and a 'gin shop',

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work