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The Red Room by H.G Wells.

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Introduction

The Red Room by H.G Wells. Through a careful examination of this short story and its language, show how Wells creates and sustains the sense of horror. My essay will be about how Wells can create and sustain horror in his story 'The Red Room'. I will be paying close attention to how he makes the reader feel, by looking at the language and techniques he uses. The story is a Victorian gothic horror/ghost story written in the year 1896. The first line in this story is straight to the point and already shows you what the main character is like. It shows off his confident and maybe even pompous attitude. Right from the start of the story fear is already being created. Much of it is done through traditional horror story techniques such as using an old castle and long 'draughty subterranean passageways'. The story the guardians tell the young man adds fear because then everyone expects something to happen - apart from the confident, self assured young man. There is already suspense being built up too as the reader waits to see if the 'legend' of the Red Room will come true. Wells creates fear from his characters too. The 'grotesque' guardians are not the type you would use in a love story, but of course they fit in perfectly with the traditional ghost story. ...read more.

Middle

This is showing that darkness is a lot more frightening than being able to see and know what is there. He is still building up the sense of horror little by little. Wells is starting to show you that the horror is only starting to begin. This once brave young man is starting to slip up. When people are scared their imaginations do start to run wild with misconceptions of the slightest things. The young man seems to describe everything with a twist of horror to it. Although of course, Wells wants us to see that this castle is a spooky place so he can keep us on our toes while reading. Once in the room he carries on expressing his fears for darkness, he speaks of 'legends that had sprouted in its black corners' and of its 'germinating darkness'. He uses metaphors and explains how he feels small and how his candle was only a 'little tongue of light in its vastness'. Wells is starting to create mystery in the room by making the young man speak of the room being like an 'ocean of mystery' and beyond his 'circle of light' lays suggestion. To cure all this, he goes through a very thorough examination of the room. For this brief time the reader is not being built up, I neither feel he is building tension. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wells keeps showing signs of hope throughout the story, but quickly takes them away and replaces it with even more horror. The last straw is when we think the young man will be ok as the fire was still 'dancing'. But no, the flames 'dwindle and vanish' and the man is left in complete darkness, 'wrapped' round him it 'sealed his vision' and 'crushed the last vestiges of reason' from his brain. This is the part where the reader just holds their breath. The reader believes there can be no hope left. But no, Wells gives us a small bit of hope once more, and as the young man makes his way to the door, something happens, but we don't know what. Probably the most horrifying thing that can happen, is not knowing what happens. Not being able to see what is happening or know what is with you. This is why I really enjoy the ending, it is still a mystery. The description of the fear is good, as it makes the reader think. I feel every reader would agree that 'fear' is 'worst of all the things that haunt poor mortal men'. But even though this is explained to us, we still do not know the reason for the candles going out... surely our fear could not have so much power that it could extinguish a candle. I feel there is more to that room, more than what meets the eye in the story. Charlotte Schofield 1,466 words ...read more.

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