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The success of "The Withered Arm" and "The Red Room" depends largely upon the author's ability to create suspense. Discuss the various forms of suspense, evident in both short stores. Effective or not?

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Introduction

Arisara K. 10 V The success of "The Withered Arm" and "The Red Room" depends largely upon the author's ability to create suspense. Discuss the various forms of suspense, evident in both short stores. Effective or not? Superstitious beliefs and supernatural stories still play a main part in the modern world although they are slowly fading away through the generations. For instance a short story by Thomas Hardy, a 19th Century author and poet who wrote "The Withered Arm" and "The Red Room" by H. G. Wells which is a typical Victorian ghost story that contains Gothic mystery. Suspense and mystery are created in various forms in both stories through the chilling atmosphere created by the effective use of language of the authors. Hardy begins the story by creating an intriguing scene, without informing the readers of any previous detailed information about Rhoda Brooke and Farmer Lodge's relationship, this makes the readers curious about it. "Their course lay apart from that of the others, to a lonely spot high above of the water-meads, and not far from the border of Egdon Heath, whose dark countenance was visible in the distance" Rhoda lived with a boy whom Hardy chooses never to give a name, to emphasise how un-important he is and how his father rejects him. ...read more.

Middle

Another important factor in creating and maintaining a sense of mystery and malignant uncontrollable forces is the plot. The vision coming true and Rhoda beginning to doubt herself really draws the readers into the story. Throughout the story Hardy used his skilful narrative style by changing the perspective in the middle of the story, so that the readers had almost forgot about Rhoda Brook and her son. The climax is totally unpredicted and unanticipated. H.G. Wells introduces the theme of the supernatural world in "The Red Room" when he mentions "a very tangible ghost" at the beginning of the story. "Well if I see anything tonight, I shall be so much the wiser. For I come to the business with an open mind" this shows that the man is very eager to find the truth and arrogant, feeling that he is not afraid of any ghosts. Wells uses symbolic images like "fire" to create a fearful atmosphere. The fact that the characters are not named makes them more mysterious or perhaps less human. All of the characters except the young man are all old with "pales eyes" or "withered", giving grotesque images of how scary they seem. ...read more.

Conclusion

The old people "never dared" this suggests that they have respect for the room or maybe fear of the spirits that haunted the room. By using the mysterious characters, unfriendly settings, narrative structure, and strange plots, both Thomas Hardy and H.G. Wells have successfully created effective short stories. Their use of languages maintains the sense of suspense and the theme of the supernatural world. Both stories contain the elements of the supernatural world but in "The Withered Arm" the story mainly involves dark magic and witchcrafts whereas "The Red Room" involves how the minds can play you when you're alone in the darkness. Both stories were written when as people strongly believed in the supernatural world and the evil forces; this is another reason that the stories are effective. It is difference from today's horror stories as it is not full with blood and gore. The narrative structure also plays an important role; both stories have a slow calm start until it reaches the climax. During the climax of the stories there is an ever increasing pace which keeps the readers enthralled. Thomas Hardy and H.G. Wells did not reveals everything to the reader and leave them to figure it out. This leaves the stories more mysterious. I believe that both stories achieve this remarkable well and cover all of these points to make the stories full of mystery and suspense. ...read more.

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