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This essay will consider four of this type of story, by short story writers of the period; Dickens' 'The Signal Man', 'The Monkey's Paw' by W W Jacobs, H G Wells' 'The Red Room' and 'The Dream Woman' by Wilkie Collins.

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Introduction

LOOKING AT THE ATTUTUDES OF THE PERIOD, EXAMINE HOW A RANGE OF 19TH CENTURY WRITERS CREATE MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE IN THEIR SHORT SHORIES The rise in popularity of magazines in Victorian times and the era's fascination in the unknown and supernatural led to immense interest in the short story genre. The key to the success of short stories is holding the reader's attention by the use of interesting and meaningful subject matter, by using a condensed style of writing in order to maintain suspense and intrigue. The Victorian era saw great development in science which led to conflicts in belief between faith and science, and rationalism and the supernatural. Many of the 19th century short stories concerned the supernatural. This essay will consider four of this type of story, by short story writers of the period; Dickens' 'The Signal Man', 'The Monkey's Paw' by W W Jacobs, H G Wells' 'The Red Room' and 'The Dream Woman' by Wilkie Collins. These authors create mystery and suspense in a variety of ways; in the location of the story, the technique of narrative blurring where the readers' imagination is allowed to conjure up its worst fears, inconclusive endings leaving some vital questions unanswered, unseen terror, mysterious characters and the type of language used. I will explore all of these aspects of their writing. ...read more.

Middle

at him' and later in the story 'his eyes opened toward the left hand side of his bed, and there stood - the dream woman again? No! His wife; the living reality, with the dream spectre's face'. This mysterious woman makes the reader ask questions as to why she is trying to kill Isaac and she increases the intrigue of the story. Specific techniques of language further obscure the clarity of the story so that tension is created by not revealing who or what is being referred to, this literary effect is called narrative blurring. In 'The Monkey's Paw' a man refers to the main characters' son as 'badly hurt...he was caught in machinery'. Here the writer chooses not to describe what happened to their son, but lets the audience concoct an image of their own, which is far more effective than his own writing as the reader can imagine what they would find the worst. This is the same for the line 'I could only recognize him by his clothing.' Here the writer hints that their boy is dismembered, however he doesn't describe what he looks like, he lets the reader imagine it. And at the end of the story you never see what the thing behind the door is which lets your mind ponder on what it could be and what it looked like. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 'The Dream Woman' the premonition reveals the unseen terror to the audience, which creates suspense throughout the story, especially towards the end, when Isaac meets his wife. Dickens's 'The Signalman' has an unseen terror in the form of his fear of the spectre. This creates a mysterious atmosphere for the reader. Overall it would appear that mystery and suspense is created in a variety of ways using a range of different techniques which were popular in the Victorian era. These stories became very popular as they came around at a time of change, and looked at the possibilities of the supernatural which were unheard of before this time. There are many methods of creating mystery and suspense; the effective use of language and writing styles to create characters of intrigue and mystery. Using locations to create a feeling of loneliness, isolation and despair add to the suspense of a short story. Additionally, short stories often include characters of mystery that the reader never has the opportunity to learn more about, thus maintaining the feeling of suspense. In my opinion one of the most effective ways 19th century writers created mystery and suspense in their short story writing was by quickening the pace and rhythm of the text by using short, snappy sentences and chapters which cannot help to engage the reader and quicken their pulse. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ben Lewis 10T Miss Pettit ...read more.

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