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The Techniques Used by Wells in The Red Room to Create a Feeling of Suspense and Terror

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Introduction

The Techniques Used by Wells in The Red Room to Create a Feeling of Suspense and Terror The title "The Red Room" immediately makes the reader think about the story; it is important and leaves unanswered questions. "What is the red room?" "Why is it red?" Red is associated with fear and danger. The title raises so many questions that it has the effect of making us read on, wanting to find answers to our questions. The writer has to attract the reader keep their attention throughout. In order for any story to work, tension has to be built in the text, to keep the reader asking themselves questions and wanting to read on. The reader will be able to have a strong influence from the writer's first and last lines. It is essential that they are well thought out. This is the first line: "I can assure you, said I, 'that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me'." From this first line, the reader gets two pieces of information. Firstly that this story involves a ghost, or some involvement of the supernatural, and secondly that the character is an educated and well-read man, who may also be young and arrogant. ...read more.

Middle

I stood that candle upon the floor of the alcove, and left it in that position." Here he is referring to the opening line about having to find a very tangible ghost. Tension mounts as he begins talking to himself, but after listening to the eerie echoes, he gets more frightened than before. The tension is increasing all the time. He is getting more nervous and he feels the need for more candles. He has to get some from the corridor and he lights them and places them around the room. His spirits lift but there is also tension created through his black humour. He may be watching what he describes as "cheery and reassuring little streaming flames", but he is getting nervous and he jokes about how he should warn any ghost about tripping over a candle on the floor. Wells constantly shows that the man is still trying to be rational and keep thinking scientifically and logically. This shows that the man is cocky and believes still that he is right, and that the idea of ghosts is irrational. The next passage is when Wells increases the tension, the first candle goes out, casting a black shadow on the wall, the second candle goes out and the tension in the story is boosted once again as there is an uncertainty about what is causing the candles to go out. ...read more.

Conclusion

What the old people fear in the story is the unknown and the possibilities of what may be in 'the red room' and generally what they have manifested in the great amounts of time they have. Any passage relating to the unknown could build suspense and terror. Language plays an important part and changes with characters. The old people have an old English vocabulary, whereas the young man is given a very upper class, stylish and from at times arrogant vocabulary. The fact that the old people have and older vocabulary allows the reader to think that they have got something to do with the room supposedly being haunted and again heightens the suspense. Around the main focus of the story, the language relating to the young man's experience is described in very short sentences with a lot of punctuation. The first time I read this, I did not feel that it held my attention, but now that I have read it again another few times, I can see that Wells has used some great techniques to capture the readers attention, to create suspense and terror, I feel that by holding the readers attention for longer her can therefore build suspense and scare the reader. I found myself reading on quite eagerly. I feel that this was due to the literary techniques, to terrorise readers and his ability to lengthen suspense. ...read more.

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This piece considers the language used and in particular how this is used to ensure the story fits into the Gothic genre. At times the response could be more fluently and concisely expressed and essays should be carefully planned and proofread to ensure the structure of the response is as clear as possible.

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Marked by teacher Laura Gater 14/10/2013

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