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How is a sense of fear created in the reader in Gothic short stories?

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Introduction

How is a sense of fear created in the reader in Gothic short stories? A sense of fright and panic is created in the reader in gothic short stories through HG Wells uses various techniques and a wide range of vocabulary to create tension and fear in the reader in the story 'The Red Room'. Wells deliberately selects an arrogant and over-confident narrator who helps build up a sense of tension: "I can assure you, 'said I, 'that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me.' This quote, right at the start of the story makes the reader think that the narrator is very pompous and confident and that does not believe in ghosts. The use of the word 'tangible' also makes the reader think that the protagonist is almost brave. Furthermore the narrator says: "Eight and twenty years I have lived, and never a ghost have I seen yet" Here the narrator carries on his pompous tone and tries to sound confident while he is only putting up a fa�ade. 'Well,' said I, 'if I see anything tonight, I shall be so much the wiser. For I come to the business with an open mind.' Here the protagonist tries to convince himself that he is confident and nothing supernatural is happening or will happen to him during his stay in the Red Room. The other characters in the short story include three old people who live, and take care of the house. One of them is a woman, and the other two characters are men. One of the men has a withered arm while the other man is described by the following quote: "A second old man entered.....He supported himself by a single crutch, his eyes were covered by a shade, and his lower lip, half averted, hung pale and pink from his decaying yellow teeth." This character, the second old man, is so disfigured he is beyond imagination that Wells intends him to be a parody of the gothic genre. ...read more.

Middle

Moreover, the old woman seems very scared of the room, she does not seem to believe the protagonist in that he is going to the room and this makes us feel anxious. This technique also makes us always feel 'on the edge' and we have no idea what is going to happen to the protagonist and what is coming up next. This technique also makes the reader think about what is special in about the Red Room and what will happen there, or what has happened there. We also wonder why the narrator has come to see the room, and if anything supernatural is actually there. Also when the story starts, the narrator holds back information by putting up a fa�ade. We are unaware of his real feelings, but sometimes he shows his feelings although not deliberately. His viewpoint also changes many times throughout the course of the story. This makes him very unpredictable, and the reader feels that he or she cannot trust him. The narrator himself causes fear due to his fallibility. This scares the reader from the start of the story, and helps build up fear up to the point where the narrator loses his battle to his fear. The narrator tries to cope with his apprehension in many different ways. He fails in most of these attempts, and simply puts by hiding and concealing his real feelings. He also attempts to lie to himself. He acts pompous and arrogant, and makes himself think that he will not see anything supernatural in his stay at the Red Room: "Eight-and-twenty years," said I, "I have lived, and never a ghost have I seen as yet." Here the narrator tries to hide his fear by pretending to be brave, while he is actually very scared. However, when he enters the Red Room he changes completely. He shows his fear, will trying to hide it, but he does accept his fear closer to the end of the story. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another instance of hell is the angry sunset: "so steeped in the glow of the angry sunset." This reminds the reader of hell, and fire in hell and can represent the end of the world because it was believed that the sun would mean the eventual destruction of the earth. When the narrator begins to start thinking of supernatural things it scares the reader: "The monstrous thought came into my mind, as I perused the fixed eyes and the saturnine face, that this was a spirit, not a man" This builds fear up in the reader because the reader feels and thinks the same as the narrator. As soon as he starts thinking these intangible things, the reader thinks that they will probably be true. This makes us worry for the narrator. Also when the narrator says "His manner seemed to make the place strike colder to me" he once again shows that he is starting to believe in the supernatural. This makes us feel insecure and feel nervous for the narrator. Later on, the signalman describes a 'spectre': "The arm left arm is across the face, and the right army is waved - violently waved" This ghost makes us feel frightened and nervous because we think that it can harm the narrator. Also the use of the word 'violently' makes everything seem more sinister. We soon find out that the narrator is getting nervous - "Resisting the slow touch of a frozen finger tracing out my spine." This makes the reader feel nervous as well as sorry for the narrator as he has been caught up in the signalman's problems. It builds up fear because we know something is going to happen to the narrator or the signalman. We then learn that the narrator is trying his best to ignore the supernatural: "A disagreeable shudder crept over me, but I did my best against it" Here the narrator tries to ignore the supernatural goings on but fails. It makes the reader feel scared as another supernatural thing has happened. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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