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Looking Closely At The Nineteenth Century Short Stories: The Adventure Of The Speckled Band, The Signalman And The Red Room, Compare How Suspense And Tension Is Built Up In Each Story.

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Introduction

Looking Closely At The Nineteenth Century Short Stories: The Adventure Of The Speckled Band, The Signalman And The Red Room, Compare How Suspense And Tension Is Built Up In Each Story. The three stories I am comparing are The Red Room by H. G Wells, The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and The Signalman by Charles Dickens. I will be comparing how the tension is created by the writer in each story, as they are all based on the mystery/horror genre. In these types of stories it should have suspense, horror, and ambiguity to keep the readers interest. The Red Room, by H.G Wells was a nineteenth century story. During this time supernatural powers were believable, so someone reading it at the time would feel tenser. It is about a man (narrator) who seeks spirits in a castle. He has heard about "The Red Room" and wants to find out, however, the three old people try to warn him but still he goes ahead in search for the room, completely oblivious to what awaits him. The Signalman was also nineteenth century story. This is about a man who sees ghosts. He also has a premonition of his own death. The Adventure of the Speckled Band was written in the pre-20th century. It was based on a murder mystery where Dr Roylott (main character) ...read more.

Middle

As if to say there was a ghostly presence beyond the darkness. The tension mounts as, after he lights his candles, two go out, and there is uncertainty about how or why it went out. "Shadows seemed to take another step towards me," he states as the candles blow out one by one, casting black shadows on the walls. This is creating constant tension, as the reader keeps interest wanting to know what will happen. Approaching the peak of tension, the sentences become shorter. Clumsily he knocks his thigh against the table and his downfall begins; from here he begins to lose control. He then runs into something and knocks himself out. After this, there is a gap in time, as he wakes up as the old people have saved him. This leaves a cliff-hanger ending and leaves the reader in suspense, wondering what exactly was in that room... The Signalman is set in a deep cutting opposite a tunnel with a railway running through. It is always dark, which again, creates the feeling of unawareness. The setting is described as, "Extremely deep and unusually precipitous" and "Solitary and dismal". It seems like the place is very isolated and cut off from the real world, the perfect place for supernatural happenings. This is so that the reader gets a sense of what the environment is like, and by the word solitary, the reader immediately realises that there's no one else around, and effectively being on your own in a dark, dismal place should be a quite daunting experience, which makes the reader aware of the surroundings. ...read more.

Conclusion

Helen tells her story and Sherlock investigates. "Tell me, Helen,' said she, 'have you ever heard anyone whistle in the dead of the night?" These clues make you think, and throughout, and they create tension as to what will happen next. At the end we find Dr Roylott tries to kill Helen with an Indian snake, but it backfires and kills him instead. The other stories we have read are The Monkeys Paw and A Terribly Strange Bed. The Monkeys Paw builds up the tension by the different wishes, and the unpredictability of each one. A Terribly Strange Bed does the same by the mystery of this bed, and they mysteriousness of the characters. From looking at each story I have found that they present the tension in the same sort of way. I have found that they all use environment descriptions, and the way in which the characters are portrayed to create this tension. They also have a good play of words and make it intentionally unpredictable to make you ask yourself questions about the plot. Word use in stories is mandatory as this is one of the main factors that helps build up the tension. Also not too much description makes it seem more mysterious. For example the "man with the withered arm" in The Red Room makes it seem like he's a very strange man, but the reader doesn't ever actually find out why the writer described him as "the man with the withered arm." Each one fulfils the typical elements of the mystery genre by using tension, mysteriousness, unpredictability, and clues. ...read more.

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