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Several stories in the collection show features of Gothic writing. Compare the ways in which suspense and mystery is built up and show how the settings contribute to the effects. Refer in detail to TWO or THREE stories from the collection.

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Introduction

GCSE English and English Literature Task 2 - Prose study (En 2 + Lit pre - 1914 prose) Coursework Task 1: Several stories in the collection show features of Gothic writing. Compare the ways in which suspense and mystery is built up and show how the settings contribute to the effects. Refer in detail to TWO or THREE stories from the collection The stories that I have chosen for my piece of coursework are: The Speckled Band and The Red Room. I have chosen these stories as they both exhibit features of gothic writing. In this essay I hope to compare the ways in which these stories build up suspense and mystery. I also hope to compare the ways in which the settings contribute to these effects. In The Speckled Band suspense is built up by the use of descriptive language, which is used from the start. At first, the suspense is finding out about a young woman who has called on Holmes with a case for him. "It seems that a young lady has arrived in a considerable state of excitement" Tension is built up here as the woman, when offered a cup of hot coffee to stop her from shivering, replies: "It is not cold which makes me shiver," ... "It is fear, Mr Holmes. It is terror." This builds up tension and mystery, as it make the reader wonder what has made this young woman quake with fear. ...read more.

Middle

Another way in which tension is built up is at the end, with the description of Dr. Roylott. This builds tension, as every feature of him is described, starting from the feet, moving slowly up the body describing what Roylott is wearing. This creates tension, as the reader is reading this description thinking what could have happened to Roylott. When the description reaches the head, we find out what has happened to Roylott. When we find out what has happened to Roylott, all the tension in the story is dispelled and Holmes explains what has happened. The setting in The Speckled Band contributes to the mystery and the gothic style of the story. Most of the action takes place at night, in the mansion. The perimeter walls of the mansion have "unrepaired breaches". This makes the reader think that the mansion is in a state of disrepair. Also, a "dark road" led them up to the mansion. Descriptions of the setting are used to build the tension and the mysterious feeling of the place. In this story, darkness is used as a setting for all of the mysterious events that take place. Also the room, in which Holmes and Watson must stay the night in, is dark. "We must sit without a light". The setting of darkness creates more fear and tension than daytime. In The Red Room tension is built up, first by a dialogue between the strange old people who live in the house and the main character. ...read more.

Conclusion

This means that most of the writer's time is devoted to creating tension and fear in the reader. The mystery in this story is about what is in the red room. The tension is built up mainly through dialogue in The Speckled Band, whereas in The Red Room the tension is built up mainly through description. Even though these are the main ways, The Speckled Band does use description, but is not as reliant on it as The Red Room. The same also applies to The Red Room as it does use dialogue, but doesn't rely on it as much as The Speckled Band does. Also, the setting of The Red Room is much more important to the story than the setting of The Speckled Band. The derelict castle in The Red Room is central to the story, as it has long corridors, deserted rooms and a haunted room. In The Speckled Band the mansion is quite central to the plot, because it was the site of the murder, but the setting in general doesn't help build the feeling of tension as the setting of The Red Room. Both stories build up tension in slightly different ways. This is to be expected as the stories are of different genres. Neither of these stories have drastically different ways of building up tension. Though The Red Room doesn't build up mystery as much as The Speckled Band does. The Speckled Band is far more mysterious than The Red Room as the genre of The Speckled Band demands that it is mysterious. 1 Alex Dayantis 10L GCSE Coursework ...read more.

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