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Pre 1914 prose - comparative literature essay

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Introduction

GCSE English literature coursework Pre 1914 prose - comparative literature essay. Suspense is a state of anxiety cause by having to wait for something. Both Edgar Allen Poe and Thomas Hardy successfully create suspense in their writing, ensuring that the reader is kept engaged until the end both in "Tell Tale Heart" by Poe and "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" by Hardy. "Tell Tale Heart" is a short story following the deranged narrator through his heartless, motiveless murder of an old man. "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" is a novel that travels the life of Tess from rape, two marriages and murder which eventually spell the end of her own life. In chapter fifty six, the section that I will be analysing, Tess' first husband, Angel, arrives at Tess' house. This arouses Mrs Brooks' curiosity; she then spies on Tess and Alec and later finds Alec's body. "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" was published in instalments in a newspaper, and so the suspense techniques would have to keep the reader wanting to read the next instalment. Whilst both authors use similar suspense techniques, "Tell Tale Heart" is a short story, and so the suspense needed will be different from those in the novel "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", which was first published in instalments. In "Tell Tale Heart", suspense needs to build gradually, in order to keep the reader engages, whereas, in "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", suspense levels will be rising and falling throughout the novel and the characters and plot can help to keep the reader engaged far better than in a short story , as the reader grows attached to a certain character. In a suspense story, the role of the narrator is vital in building and maintaining the suspense. In "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", Hardy introduces a new character, Mrs Brooks, who becomes the narrator for the chapter, unlike Poe who cannot introduce numerous characters as "Tell Tale Heart" is a short story. ...read more.

Middle

plot as the narrator is mad, however, the reader isn't left guessing at so much of the detail in comparison with "Tess of the d'Urbervilles". In Hardy's text, the fact that Mrs Brooks goes to call someone to find out what has happened builds further suspense for the reader. "She begged him to come in". This delays the reader from gaining knowledge of what has happened, building tension. Her fear of going up on her own also suggests that something awful has happened. Poe doesn't use this technique, as the reader is with the narrator throughout the murder. In the Victorian era, long sentences with complex sentence structures, were widely used. Both authors show the emotion of their characters through punctuation. In "Tell Tale Heart", when the narrator begins to become distressed, Poe shows this through his selection of punctuation. Poe shows the narrator's nerves, through the abundant number of exclamation marks: "hark! louder! louder! louder! LOUDER!" This is an effective technique as it quickens the pace of the text and also causes the rhythm of the prose to mimic the heart beats of his own heart, the heart he can hear and the reader's heart beat. Hardy also used exclamation marks in "Tess of the d'Urbervilles": "I can't bear this! - I cannot!" Again, this quickens the pace of the text, building tension as the reader anticipates what is about to happen. It also shows Tess' distress by altering the tone of her voice. This creates tension as we wonder if she will do something she may later regret. Hardy doesn't use as many exclamation marks as Poe, instead he uses a great number of ellipses to show how Tess is feeling: "my dear, dear husband came home to me... and I did not know it!..." This shows the reader Tess' outpouring of emotion and the random flitting about of her thoughts, she hasn't thought through what she is going to say. ...read more.

Conclusion

follow the normal life of those times, she will be hanged because of her crime and the red stain is the first clue to the reader about this ( as it links with pain, suffering and death). Through this, Hardy creates suspense as the reader waits to see whether or not their thoughts are correct. The detailed description of Alec's wound in "Tess of the d'Urbervilles": "wound was small" would have shocked a Victorian reader as it was not common for even this amount of description of a wound to be written. It would also have added to the controversy of the novel as Hardy had painted Tess in a good light and in Victorian times, Tess would have been at fault for getting pregnant out of wedlock. It would have also acted as a cliff-hanger, as "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" as published in instalments and so Hardy would have had to keep the reader's interest in-between chapters, using cliff-hangers, or it would not sell. Poe doesn't give a detailed description of the murder, possibly due to the fact that that was not often done at the time. Overall, both Poe and Hardy were highly successful at creating and maintaining suspense throughout their texts. I personally feel that withholding information and signposting, along with sentence construction and punctuation, were the most successful techniques used. The withholding of information frustrates the reader, engaging interest. Signposting causes the reader to question an outcome. Sentence construction and punctuation set the pace of the text. I found "Tell Tale Heart" the better texts, as the pace was faster and I found the narrator interesting. However, "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" is a novel, whilst "Tell Tale Heart" is a short story and so there are different demands of the suspense for each. Both texts are extremely well written with a good use of suspense techniques. Clearly both authors knew exactly what suspense means and how to use it. ?? ?? ?? ?? Stephanie Saunders 10A Page 1 of 6 ...read more.

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