• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Red Room How successfully did HG Wells create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense in his story?

Extracts from this document...


* How successfully did HG Wells create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense in his story? HG Wells successfully creates an atmosphere of mystery and suspense in his story by his excellent use of linguistic devices, deliberate choice of words, choice of verbs and most importantly the stereotypical convention of gothic fiction. "The Red Room" has all the basics of a work of horror: a plot revolving around the supernatural, an atmosphere of looming threat, a terror-filled narrator whose case of the creeps is supposed to carry over to the reader. It's a Gothic standard to contrast "the light" and "the darkness" or "the shadow." The whole work is supposed to seem "dark," foreboding, threatening, and mysterious. This usually means that the darkness is what prevails, and the light is either weak and isolated or completely absorbed. "Red Room" is no exception; it's chock full of this stuff. As "The Red Room" is told in the first person, the tone reflects the attitude of the main character. The narrator's determination to be "rational" comes across in the ordered, detailed, analytical, and somewhat removed descriptions he gives. This applies not only to the house and the things he sees. But it also applies to the narrator's own mental states, and the motivations behind his actions. Doesn't this just sound like a scientist: "I resolved to make a systematic examination of the place at once, and dispel the fanciful suggestions of its obscurity before they obtained a hold upon me". ...read more.


Wells's writing is certainly well ordered. His sentences and paragraphs are always neatly divided and structured in a point-by-point way fashion that complements the narrator's analytical tone. But that doesn't mean the writing is simple or terse. "I entered, closed the door behind me at once, turned the key I found in the lock within, and stood with the candle held aloft, surveying the scene of my vigil, the great red room of Lorraine Castle, in which the young duke had died" This kind of sentence can lend an air of pretension to the writing. So too does Well's word choice. He often tends towards old-fashioned words, "foregathered", and frequent use of overdone modifiers, as in "absolute silence" or "marvellous distinctness". And then, every so often, Wells will just hit you with something totally over the top: "My candle was a little tongue of light in its vastness, that failed to pierce the opposite end of the room, and left an ocean of mystery and suggestion beyond its island of light". "Ocean of mystery" and "island of light"? Kind of beautiful, but for some people that sort of imagery could sound just a little too epic. Both fear and darkness are frequently described as active, threatening forces in the story, "darkness closed upon me like the shutting of an eye, wrapped about me in a stifling embrace." What's the deal with all of this personification of two abstract, nonliving things? ...read more.


What about the dire pronouncement the man with the shades makes at the end? He proclaims that the red room will remain haunted by Fear until the house is gone. We think this suggests something else about fear. Fear isn't just in one's head; we should actually take that language of it haunting a place seriously. The eerie atmosphere and the dreadful history of the red room combine to make it a place that will scare whoever visits it, even if they "know" it's not really haunted. What happened to the narrator will happen to anyone else who tries. Each additional person's defeat by fear in the red room will only increase its frightful reputation. When all's said and done, you might still feel let down about there being no ghost. In which case, here's something else to think about. We get the conclusion that there is no ghost from the narrator, but it's not clear how he knows that. Sure he and the guy with the shades, and almost certainly Wells himself (who's trying to make a point), think there's no real ghost. But what was blowing out all of those candles? What took care of the fire just when the narrator needed it? We didn't have any mention of wind, besides one measly draft that makes one of the candles flicker (i.e., not nearly powerful enough to blow out multiple candles). And did the narrator really get so battered just from crashing into things? "The Red Room" answers none of these questions. 1 Shannon Rafferty ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE H.G. Wells section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE H.G. Wells essays

  1. How does H.G Wells use language and other devices to create suspense?

    The custodians may also be trying to highlight that the narrator is on his own venturing around the castle and to `The Red Room' by being in a group. Another reason the custodians are all together maybe because the feel intimidated by the narrators `impossible sturdiness' and their older bodies so therefore feel safer in a group.

  2. How do H.G Wells and E. Allen-Poe create an atmosphere of fear and tension ...

    And, secondly by the descriptions of the people involved, firstly by the description of the narrator and of his madness, he introduces madness very early on in the story and emphasises his point just by the way he talks, he seems to have no real reason for killing the old

  1. What makes a good mystery? Using three of the classical mysteries read in class ...

    "I have lived, and never a ghost have I seen yet." However, because of their distorted physical appearance, this hints that something will happen, as the readers will sense something is not quite right and odd. The author has chosen to make the old people anonymous, which builds on the tension as the readers would constantly question who are they?

  2. Examine the ways in which HG Wells creates atmosphere in The War of the ...

    He then describes how he was trying desperately to make it to shore, "I staggered through the leaping, hissing water towards the shore" The words leaping and hissing are used to describe the temperature of the water and to bring the reader back to the snake imagery.

  1. The Red Room Examination

    Wells continues describing imperfections in the house to create suspense and make the reader ask more and more questions. He uses onomatopoeia when he describes that the 'door creaked on its hinges'. The word 'creaked' as the imperative creates a dramatic focus on the word, making the reader think of it's meaning or purpose.

  2. The Red Room and The Monkey's Paw(Compare and Contrast)

    This tells the reader that the family that remains now believes that it was the monkey's paw's doing. This also suggest Nemesis because they disbelieved in the monkey's paw they have paid for it. When one week pass the old man wakes up to find his wife crying by the

  1. Pre 1914 Prose Fiction - Stories of Mystery

    The reader is left uncertain of what really happened to Gabriel Grub, and can therefore imagine what he likes; this can often be a far better method for creating an atmosphere, as the reader's mind would be inclined to imagine far more tense and mysterious scenarios than could have been portrayed by the author.

  2. "In 'The Red Room', how does H.G Wells explore the nature of fear?'

    bays', the 'recesses and alcoves' and the fact that his one candle does not enable him to see to the end of the room. He describes the darkness as being a 'germinating darkness' which suggests that the darkness is growing. He admits himself that there is mystery surrounding the room.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work