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How tension is created in Dracula by BramStoker, The Kit bag by Algernon Blackwood, and The Monkeys Paw by W.W. Jacobs.

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Introduction

How tension is created in Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Kit bag by Algernon Blackwood, and The Monkeys Paw by W.W. Jacobs We have examined how various methods of constructing tension are applied within each extract. Atmosphere and setting have the most effect on creating fear although the choice of storyteller and the holding back of information also subtly adds uneasiness in the reader. Another important factor is the description of characters and their actions. In each of these stories isolation and darkness are key factors. In Dracula Jonathan Harker is not only isolated from civilisation but also within the castle since there are so many doors but they are all 'locked and bolted'. From the day Harker arrives in the 'gloom' he begins to live a nocturnal life, he wakes 'late in the day' and goes to bed as 'warm grey of quickening sky' appears. The reader is made to visualise a dark force changing Harker's character and lifestyle without being given any specific detail. ...read more.

Middle

Vaults are for storing valuables in but here Johnson is inside the vault and is trapped, with no sign of life apart from the mysterious sounds of an unknown being. The Monkeys Paw, does not really create a typical gothic atmosphere because even thought they live far out there are three people and inside the house has a 'brightly' burning fire. Setting is aided by the description of characters, we have a very detailed description of Dracula and of his behaviour. The Count's first appearance is an original gothic image, all 'clad in black from head to foot without a speck of colour'. He had a natural pale face, which has a dead-like semblance. Harker picks up on Dracula's abnormality but chooses to ignore many of the signs, as he is impressed with the kind hospitality offered by the Count. One of the most tense scenes between Dracula and Harker is when he recoils with 'horrible feeling of nausea' as he smells blood on Dracula's breath. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion I think that Dracula is best at creating tension due to its detailed descriptions, and because we only see one point of view so we never know what Dracula is thinking. This has an air of mystery as it leaves many questions unanswered until the very end. Then everything begins to unravel and we realise there are no servants, and the coach man was in fact Dracula himself. The Kit bag is very psychological and we never find out what made the bag move, whether it was all a dream or if it was real. There are many anticlimaxes during the piece of writing as well as having a lot of peak points of tension, this captures the readers attention throughout the writing. The Monkeys Paw is not very good at mounting tension because it lacked serious detail and we can relate the accidents as coincidences. With Dracula and the Kit bag there is some realism about the stories and what is unbelievable like the existence of ghosts or vampires is still unknown to us today. ...read more.

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