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The Red Room by H.G. Wells.

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Introduction

Page 1. The Red Room by H.G. Wells. The Red Room is a chilling tale of the quest of a brave man to come face to face with a ghost that is said to haunt an old castle. This castle has a history of unexplained deaths and misery, that, in the tradition of old tales is ascribed to unseen forces and ghosts. The setting for this story is a castle that is almost deserted, except for three old people, who bear witness to unexplained tragedies that have befallen countless people in the past. The narrator of this story is yet another person who wants to confront whatever lies within the red room, in an effort to finally dispel all the superstitions that surround it. Wells begins the story by introducing the character of the narrator, who like the other characters remains unnamed. Wells does this to emphasize the physical appearance and the behaviour of the people in his story, because we have to remember them by how they look and what they do, rather than by their names. ...read more.

Middle

Thus the story begins in a positive mood with no indication of fear. However, as soon as we meet the man with the withered arm, an uneasy atmosphere takes over, with furtive looks from the man and a very unwelcoming attitude from the old woman as she is introduced for the first time. She is described as "staring hard into the fire, her pale eyes wide open" and "her head swaying from side to side," typical behaviour of a distressed or worried person. Then she gives words of warning to the young narrator, that at twenty-eight years of age he has "A many thing to see and to sorrow for." In this way Wells is building up an atmosphere that is becoming gradually more and more uncomfortable for the narrator. At this point the narrator is feeling more threatened, but is making a conscious effort to stay in control. He indicates this when he says, Page 2. "I half suspected the old people were trying to enhance the spiritual terrors of their house by their droning insistence." ...read more.

Conclusion

Here Wells is preparing the reader for the changes that will happen to the narrator when he is in the red room. He tells us, "I must confess I had scarce expected these grotesque custodians." He goes on to describe how he feels about old age, and in his opinion there is nothing good or appealing in growing old. He says, "There is to my mind something inhuman in senility, something crouching and atavistic." In creating the characters of the old people in this way Wells has developed a very tense atmosphere in this story. They are very real to the narrator, but at the same time they could also be seen as ghostlike. Within a very short time his confidence is beginning to break and he says, "The three of them made me feel uncomfortable, with their gaunt silences, their bent carriage, their evident unfriendliness to me and to one another." There is a slight feeling of relief when he thinks that it will be better for him when he is in the red room and he even says, "I will make myself comfortable there." ...read more.

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