• 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...


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.


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.


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. The two short stories,” The Red Room,” and,”The Phantom coach,” create an atmosphere and ...

    Both the "Red Room," and "Phantom Coach" are written in first person, but are still different in narration; the "Phantom Coach" is telling the reader about an event that had previously happened, whereas the "Red Room" tells the reader

  1. How does HG Wells create the mood and atmosphere of suspense in the short ...

    HG Wells is a master of the long sentence used to suggest the actions of the characters or reflect the mood of certain sections of text. He uses this to good effect at dramatic points in both stories. During the narrator of The Red Room's traumatic experience near the end

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

    This is when the narrator believes that something could be lurking in the "shadows" and is scared of going into the shadows as he does not know if anything is here,. He is then thinking that there is some sort of presence and this gives the effect on the reader that there is something there.

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

    person he knew as his son "For God's sake don't let it in". This makes the reader think that he believes in the stories of magic. When his wife rushes out to open the door the reader is eager to know what the thing that is coming into the house looks like.

  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. How do the authors create atmosphere and tension in "The Monkeys Paw" and "The ...

    This is another example of the way in which the author describes them as zombie like. Also the author of The Red Room use complex phrases such as "vain struggle against remorseless advance" and "crushed the last vestiges of reason from my brain."

  2. Unlike "The Red Room" and "The Monkey's Paw", the setting of "The Telltale Heart" ...

    This builds up the tension as the pressure builds on the young man to visit the haunted room. The narrator of "The Red Room" sees himself as mature at "eight and twenty" years, but the old woman highlights his inexperience "there's many things to see when ones still eight and twenty".

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