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How the writer creates interest in the story

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Introduction In my essay I will be examining the various methods used by writers, to keep the readers interested in their short stories. I shall be looking at certain techniques which create and keep interest, such as openings, language, characters, settings, plot, hints, build ups, mystery, atmosphere, tension, twists and climax. I have chosen three short stories, to which I will be referring and using as examples to support and explain my theories. The three short stories I have chosen to use include the following: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Landlady and The Monkey's Paw. The Tell-Tale Heart is my favorite of the three stories. It was written in 1843 by a famous author named Edgar Allan Poe. (Allan Poe suffered from epilepsy, and fear of being buried alive, as people often were during his time. When ever a person would fall unconscious, they were mistaken for dead and often woke to find themselves trapped in a coffin, 6ft under.) The Tell-Tale Heart is written in first person by the character, who is tying to prove he is not mad by explaining his reason for, and describing the events of how he committed murder. The character talks the readers through the events of how he murdered an old man simply because he did not like his eye. He tells us that he decided to "take the life of the man, and thus rid himself of the eye forever". Soon after, he is overcome with guilt and the story concludes with him confessing to the murder and revealing the whereabouts of the dead body. This happens after he mistakes his own heartbeat, for that of the dead mans'. However, the central character does not believe this, instead he insists that the police were already aware of his "deeds" and were only there to taunt him. He describes them as "making a mockery" of his "horror". ...read more.


By using the word "fatal", the author immediately associates the story with death and horror. By doing so, he creates interest. The reader is now interested to learn what mysterious and fatal events are going to take place. "I should hardly think that he'd come tonight", said the father. This quote again creates questions within the reader's mind...who were they expecting? During the opening section of the story, the author also lets us know that, the father possessed ideas about the game involving "radical changes". It turns that the lives of the Whites do undergo radical changes. All in all, the writer of the Monkey's Paw uses language, atmosphere and setting to create interest. He also shows signs of fear and unease, as well as creating questions. The unique thing about this writer is that he is subtle in the way he uses these techniques. He gradually creates interest, throughout the opening section of the story. "She was standing by the river looking at the stepping stones and remembering each one", starts Jean Rhys. Instantly this sentence tells us that the women had been there before. Now the reader is interested to know who the woman is and what the setting means to her. She then goes on to describe each stepping stone before making her way to the other side. This opening section contains so many descriptive words: " round, unsteady, pointed, flat, safe, dry, slippery" that the reader has all the information he/she needs and is no longer interested in the beginning of the story. Instead the reader is interested in the character and the plot of the story. By using such an informative and descriptive opening, the author has created a high level of interest in the other sections of the story. Jean Ryhs finishes the opening section by letting us know that the woman was feeling "extraordinarily happy". The word "extraordinarily" suggests that the plot is going to be mysterious. ...read more.


A brilliant example is "The Tell-Tale Heart". Secondly, the opening section should create questions within the readers mind. Although questions should be created throughout the story, this method should be particularly dominant during the opening. This technique is very effective, it draws the reader in. By this point, a good setting and atmosphere should have been created. One, which gives the reader some insight into what the plot is going to be about. The Monkey's Paw for instance, creates a strange, eerie atmosphere and has a setting that is often associated with fear and unease. Characters are also an important factor in creating interest. The Tell-Tale Heart demonstrates this perfectly, by creating an extremely interesting and totally unique character, and then goes on to use him as the narrator of the story. By receiving details of the plot, the reader progresses to wonder what will happen later on in the story. The method of giving the reader hints, keeps them interested to know what will happen in the ending. If the writer decides too, he/she may be ambiguous in their writing, therefore using mystery to create interest. During the middle section of the story, the writer should start to build up slowly while using good narrative tension. An example of this method is present in The Monkey's Paw, when Mrs. White is rushing to open the door for what she believes to son her son, while Mr. White is frantically searching for the paw. The Tell-Tale Heart also builds up, but uses narrative tension of a higher quality, therefore has a greater and more impressive buildup. Once the build up has reached its climax the writer should introduce a twist or surprise. Ideally the story should finish with a memorable ending that blows the reader away. In my opinion, the story, which included all the mentioned techniques, is The Tell-Tale Heart. Edgar Allen Poe used all the above methods and most effectively. That is why his story was the most impressive and interesting. I think it was remarkably unique as well as appealing. ?? ?? ?? ?? Bana Emanuel Page 1 of 6 ...read more.

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