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Prose English

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Pre 20th Century Prose Coursework How does a selection of pre-twentieth centaury mystery stories build up tension for the reader? Tension is created in the stories 'The Signalman' - by Charles Dickens and 'The Red Room' by HG Wells by the use of many different methods. 'The signalman' and 'The Red Room' have many similarities. Both these stories are of the same type, as both writers create a huge amount of atmosphere tension and suspense. They do this by using repetition, long and short sentences, use of detail and description. In 'The Red Room' HG Wells has set the story in a haunted castle called Lorraine castle, this already creates tension and suspense in the readers head. As they will start to picture a haunted castle, and they will wonder what happened there that makes it haunted. The castle is also known as the house of sins. 'The Red Room' is also known as the great red room, and normally when something's known as great it has a story and a past behind it, this creates suspense. The author describes the red room as the owners haunted room ''....show me to this haunted room of yours....'', this also suggests ghosts. There are also quotations in the story describing the red room that create atmosphere and tension, ''this large shadowy room'' this shows the room is huge but filled with mostly shadows so there's hardly any light and that not everything can be seen. ''...walked down the chilly, echoing passage'', echoing often means that something is empty nothing in there, creates a feeling of loneliness. The writer also creates a good atmosphere using this word sombre ''and looking around that large sombre room''. Sombre often suggests a dull atmosphere and is often a word used to do with death. In 'The Signalman' Charles Dickens has set the story on a railway line. The narrator first describes the location as a deep trench, ''down in the deep trench''. ...read more.


''..Turned his face towards the little bell when it did not ring, opened the door of the hut....'' This creates suspense as to why he keeps doing this. There will also be the sound of trains going by every now and again. The main imagery is 'The 'Red' Room', red is often used as a danger colour this create suspense as to whether the room is a danger zone, also red is the colour of blood, could there of been a terrible accident in the room? It creates questions again for the reader. Also while he's in 'the great red room' the narrator talks of the shadows in the room, shadows are created when there's no light in a certain area. In certain areas of the room, there is the presence of shadows, but the object that is creating them is never revealed to the reader causing more suspense and tension by engaging the reader to think what is creating them and is there someone else in the room with the reader. In 'the signalman' you first picture in your head the big drop of darkness where the signalman is, with the angry sunset shining above. There's also this image of a box that the signalman spends his time in, ''my signalman's box.'' Box can often mean coffin, so the quotation could mean that the signalman is already in his coffin. The narrator also has an image in his head that the signalman has an infectious mind. ''..Whether there may have been an infection in his mind.'' When the narrator is going to see the signalman for the second time he may have thought he was going to end up like him, lonely and vacant. This could be down to the fact that something has happened to him before and infected his mind as well as having an effect on him. The language in 'The Red Room' is very archaic, there's a lot of old English words and used for example ''eight and twenty years'', nowadays we would just say twenty eight. ...read more.


The writer has created tension here by building up to the end by revealing little clues from the start. The story ends up with what must have been these two figures lacerating Mr. Abney on the left side of his chest revealing his heart - again the heart is mentioned. The book is read by Stephen revealing what Mr. Abney was doing. We can see a correlation between the dates of when the children were induced in to this cruel ritual. The little girl was first on the 23rd march 1792, the little boy 24th march 1805 and Stephens would be end would have been 24th march 1812 - making Mr. Abney's rituals last for over 20 years. The writer has made the passage from the book gruesome to build up the fear that Stephen would be killed but in the end it is Mr. Abney who pays. The figures who killed Mr. Abney resemble the figure(s) in the bath tub - they can be associated with the living dead - without a heart you cannot live so these creatures have got a sense of good in them, they may have purposely cut Stephen's nightdress to send him a fearful warning to be careful of the house he was in and who was in it or as a warning to try and get him to leave for his own safety - the warning was not heeded so they had to kill Mr. Abney to save Stephen. They are good in a sense that they killed Mr. Abney to save someone from receiving the same fate as they did. Tension is a key feature in any horror/sci-fi story. Tension causes the fear we feel while reading the story. Tension and fear causes us to feel the range of emotions intended for us to feel while we read the story. Without it the story would not create the same effect on us. This is how and why tension is built up in these three pre twentieth century stories. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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