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How does the writer create the sense of : Setting and atmosphere, Tension, An understanding of the central character's dilemma, in The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Speckled Band?

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Nineteenth Century Short Stories Coursework How does the writer create the sense of : * Setting and atmosphere * Tension * An understanding of the central character's dilemma? There are a number of stories in the collection of Nineteenth Century Short Stories which create the sense of setting, tension and the character's dilemma. However, I have decided to focus on 'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and 'The Adventures of the Speckled Band' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as they are the two stories that have appealed to me the most. These stories appealed to me the most as both writers have created a strong sense of dilemma and growing tension. The setting and the style is also appealing as the writers add to tension and atmosphere by the places they set their story. In 'The Yellow Wallpaper', the room in which the narrator is put in, in order to rest and recover from her illness is the nursery, which is very much like she is imprisoned. She describes it as "barred windows" and the bed as "iron", "heavy" and "nailed to the ground". It is quite ironic that the room was first a nursery as firstly, the woman has had no contact with her own baby and also because she has been treated like a baby by her husband, John. ...read more.


When Dr Roylott first appears, we find out that he is far worse than Helen described. "I know you, you scoundrel! I have heard of you before. You are Holmes, the meddler." From the quote, you can tell that Dr. Roylott is an impatient man who is also violent. He is a man who has immense strength. This can be shown when Dr Roylott bends the poker stick and also when he left a mark on Helen Stoner's wrist. Dr Roylott has been described as a "huge man". The tension in 'The Adventures of the Speckled Band' keeps on building, especially when Holmes finds many clues in Helen's room that could lead to the mystery, fro example, the dummy bell rope, a ventilator which does not air from outside but is connected to Dr Roylott's room and a bed clamped to the floor. In Dr Roylott's room, Holmes finds a metal safe and a lash. This creates tension as Sherlock Holmes investigates the murder and finds more clues, Watson is reporting so the reader feels as if they are part of the investigation, and that they don't know what awaits them. Tension is also created in the scene where Holmes and Watson are in Helen's temporary bedroom and are waiting with anticipation for something to happen. ...read more.


The tension builds up at this point and when John enters he faints. The tension is not released but stays to its maximum point as Charlotte Perkins Gilman does not mention to the reader what John saw to actually make him faint, but leaves it as a cliff-hanger ending, making it an effective story. In 'The Yellow Wallpaper', the narrator is giving a first-hand account of her mental deterioration. She is not allowed to read, write or even see her own baby, therefore, to carry out her treatment, her husband John takes her to a country house where she is kept in the nursery. She is not allowed to do anything, therefore she spends her time studying the wallpaper. She feels that she is suffocated and oppressed by John who is over-protecting her. "And what can one do?" She feels that with her not being able to do anything, she has lost her identity through her illness. When studying the yellow wallpaper, she refers to the pattern as an "optic horror, like a lot of wallowing sea-weeds in full chase." This also shows the confusion in her mind. Eventually, her health declines to a state where she does not know what to do and ends up causing her husband to faint. In contrast to 'The Yellow Wallpaper', Sherlock Holmes who is portrayed as the central character does not have a specific dilemma. ...read more.

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