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In what ways do the writers in ‘The Whole Town’s Sleeping’ and ‘A Terribly Strange Bed’ create a sense of fear for the reader?

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Q: "In what ways do the writers in 'The Whole Town's Sleeping' and 'A Terribly Strange Bed' create a sense of fear for the reader?" A: Fear is when somebody feels insecure, or when he or she feels that something isn't right or that something bad is going to happen to him or her. It is a state of mind that plays on your thoughts. People love to read fear and suspense stories as they like to feel the adrenaline rush of being frightened, lost in another world where nothings the same and they can feel scared just by reading a book. Changing the pace, tense or narrative of the story can also create fear as well as using suspense and climaxes. Suspense is a great way of creating fear in a reader. Ups downs, highs lows can make a story much more interesting and maximise the fear factor. This is done by gradually increasing the tension and maybe bringing it down to a normal level and lifting it back up again. This is a great way to make the reader more interested in the story, and to make them really get a sense of fear from it. The two stories I will be analysing are from the book "Stories Then And Now". It is a collection of short stories of different genres including ghost stories, murder mysteries and fear. The two stories I will be looking at are from the fear section. They are 'The whole Town's Sleeping' by Ray Bradbury and 'A Terribly Strange Bed' by Wilkie Collins. The titles of both stories are very important. ...read more.


Choosing to walk home on her own, the reader can see that something bad is about to happen to her. The ravine is a great choice of scenery from Bradbury as it gives the impression of loneliness and that if something was to happen to someone down there, nobody would hear a thing. Bradbury lifts the tension up again by saying that as Lavinia is walking she can hear a man's voice. Little sentences follow which are very effective in this sort of scenario. The tension reaches a peak when we hear that the man is talking to Lavinia and it is only after that we realise that the man is actually the local police officer. The tension is suddenly brought straight down again. But, as the officer offers to see Lavinia home and she refuses, we can see that there is still a twist in this story yet. As she gets to the ravine, Bradbury seems to change his style of writing. He uses repetition of words to get his point across. The tension levels seem to go through the roof here as by now, we now that something bad is going to happen to her. She thinks she can see a man on the ravine and the usual short sentences of how fast her heart is beating and how scared she feels follow. But, there isn't a man there and the tension levels are back to zero again. We then can see a different side to her, her confidence seems to have disappeared and now she is genuinely scared. She thinks that she is being followed as every time she makes a step, an echo of another step follows a fraction of a second later. ...read more.


The scene then changes to the bedroom. We still get a little feeling that nothing might happen to the man because he tells how he locked and bolted the door to his room to be safe. This lures the reader into a false sense of security and leads to the tension being felt even more effectively. He then uses his tactic of drawing out a situation to maximise the fear factor. He talks for at least 20 lines about how the man is struggling to sleep. Then, he moves onto his description of the bed. He is very descriptive of the bed, down to the last detail. When the bed starts moving we still don't know if it is the man feeling this way because of how drunk he is or if the bed is actually moving. It is this uncertainty that Collins has used very well to not only keep the reader interested in the book, but to make them scared as well. Both writers in both stories use very similar methods to create a sense of fear for the reader. They use very descriptive long words and phrases to make the reader feel as if nothing is going to happen and then change the speed and tempo of the story to where something is going to happen. They change the narrative of the story to a different persons perspective and this keeps the reader interested and feeling a sense of fear at the same time. They quickly change scenes and situations in the book to where the tension levels are really high one minute and really low another. These are all great tactics to create a sense of fear for the reader. Michael Gaskin 11.12 English GCSE Coursework: Comparative Essay ...read more.

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