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The Red Room

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The Red Room By: H.G Wells 3. The red room is an example of a Gothic horror story. Describe how language is used by H.G. Wells to create an atmosphere of fear and suspense that makes you want to read on. I understand the Gothic genre to have several different typical characteristics, including; madness; the character would go mad as a result of the test or situation to which he/she had to go through. Other characteristics are gloomy, cold and dark where the corridor, room etc. is completely submerged in darkness and cold. In this story especially we see a different feature of Gothic and that is queer, unnatural. All these factors contribute to another trait which is the main one in this story and that is fear. The character is so scared from the cold unnatural darkness that they go mad. It is classically Gothic to contrast "the light" and "the darkness" or "the shadow." This is supposed to give the impression of "dark," sinister, menacing, and mysterious. This usually means that the darkness is what will be triumphant, and the light is either weak and isolated or completely absorbed. We can see the influence of the darkness by the time that the narrator gets to the red room. 'One could well understand the legends that had sprouted in its black corners, its germinating darkness' (page 46). This man, the narrator is now become doubtful about whether he should have dismissed the warnings of the old legends, he is now starting to feel the effect that darkness has, fear. ...read more.


The man with the withered arm tells him to take the 'candle on the slab outside the door' (page 44). The complete opposite of the gothic genre is light; by taking the candle the young man is "fighting" the darkness and his doubts. The old man tells the narrator that if he wants to go to "the red room" on "this night of all nights" (Page 43, 44), he must go alone. This incessant repeating helps to increase the fear and aggravation we feel. WE don't know what is wrong with this night, we never actually find out, but by repeating this sentence the foreboding, of what will happen later in the story, is built up. At the end of the story the young man sees that these old gruesome people are actually just old people, he now recognizes that they are not quite so creepy or abnormal as they had appeared the night before, 'I rolled my eyes into the corner, and saw the old woman, no longer abstracted, pouring out some drops of medicine from a little blue phial into a glass'. (49) The narrator sees the old woman as "no longer abstracted." Now that its day and the dreadful experience are behind him, he realises that he was frightened of harmless old people. It helps that she's taking care of him. In any case, this remark makes us wonder how much of what he described earlier was "accurate," and how much was created by his state of mind. ...read more.


They had bandaged him and looked after him; the woman was giving him medicine. He had thought that these people were freaky the night before but now he can see that they are just old pensioners. The narrator is suffering from concussion and has to be told what had happened the night before, only then can he tell the old people what it was that 'fought and attacked' him in the room the night before. Here we have the narrator's dramatic announcement that Fear is what haunts the red room 'in all its nakedness - Fear'(page 49). Whereas before he was dismissive of fear, now he is terrified of it. He has had a firsthand experience of the power of fear. Fear has the power to make a person lose control of himself and all he believes in. It doesn't respond to reason. It's a real invisible enemy it does 'not have light nor sound' (page 49), just like a ghost would be. The narrator even goes so far as to identify fear as an enemy of mankind. "There is Fear in that room of hers - black Fear, and there will be - so long as this house of sin endures" (Page 50). The man with the shade gets the last word. He just repeats what the narrator has said, only more eloquently and with greater finality. Furthermore, he certainly does this in a deep and terrifying voice to add emphasis to the importance of what he has to say. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chavi Littlestone 14 September 2009 Year 10 ...read more.

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