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

With Specific Reference to Language, Discuss how Short Story writers use the conventions of the Gothic in order to Create Tension and Suspense. Refer to Three Short Stories in detail and at least five in total.

Extracts from this document...


With Specific Reference to Language, Discuss how Short Story writers use the conventions of the Gothic in order to Create Tension and Suspense. Refer to Three Short Stories in detail and at least five in total. Gothic short stories were popular during the Victorian age and the five discussed in this essay are set in that era too. Gothic stories are written in order to frighten the reader, using a variety of techniques that heighten tension and suspense and force the reader to read on. We are able to differentiate between tension and suspense, as they are quite different feelings, however similar they may seem on the face of it. This differentiation is important as it allows a more in depth exploration of the use of certain techniques. Tension is a state of mental or emotional strain, whilst, suspense is apprehension about what is going to happen. These frames of mind are important in Gothic literature because they are what frighten the reader; they create a sense of excitement in an otherwise mundane series of events. The narrative mode in which the story is written affects the atmosphere which is conveyed, with each different person giving a different emphasis to a particular aspect of the story. For example a third person narrative would put more emphasis on the unfolding of the story and the action. It also allows for an overview of everybody's thoughts and feelings, but whilst doing this often sacrifices the sense of unknowing or naivety, that can create tension and suspense when a story is narrated through a single person's perspective. All of the stories I have chosen with the exception of The Withered Arm, are written in first person narrative. First person narrative allows an in depth description of the person's emotions and thought processes, such as reasoning the inexplicable. It also shows the degree of confidence the narrator shows. ...read more.


Thus physical isolation was far more frightening and would create nervous tension in both the reader and the character. In The Speckled Band there is an evident contrast between how the proximity of the house relative to the town is described during the day and at night. This contrast is because of the fear and emotions that the narrator, Watson, is feeling. In the light of day, the town is described as "some distance" ie not very far. However there is no danger present at this time and the desire to seek help is not there. From Watson's perspective it is a short distance. Contrary to this, during "the dreadful vigil" the sounds of the parish clock are "far away". This suggests to the reader that Watson and Holmes feel isolated, help is distant and they are on their own. The sense of someone being close is comforting for a person, especially someone who is in mortal danger. Removing this comfort creates suspense, emotional strain on the reader because it removes a way that the story could be resolved. As well as physical isolation there can be psychological isolation, this is what Rhoda feels in The Withered Arm. She is secluded from the other people in the village, she lived in a "lonely spot", and the other milkmaids didn't talk to her. The isolation is clarified in the chapter title, "A Lorn Milkmaid". This tells the reader that the narrator is forgotten and cast out of society. This isolation is what the reader assumes makes her appear mad, and increases suspense because we don't know at the beginning of story why she has been cast out of society. There is a desire to understand that isn't fulfilled. In Freudian psychology, isolation can be the ability to disconnect emotional responses to a situation; this plays a part in being logical and analytical about a situation. ...read more.


The desire to learn and understand is the driving force of all of our achievements and so it is na�ve to not exploit this when writing a story or novel. Asking questions in a story, creates a desire in the reader to know the answer. The more information that is provided the more the desire to know the answer is increased. This creates a very high level of tension and suspense. In The Mortal Immortal the "elixir" supposedly has the power to make a human immortal. This question isn't answered straight away. A question subsequently followed by the answer doesn't have the same level of impact as slowly providing the answer. I have the ability to enjoy the five stories as much as anyone else, however I have a very logical mind that seeks out scientific and logical explanations to things. The stories that concentrate on supernatural do not appeal to me as much as the other stories. For example The Red Room could be explained by a draught emanating from the open windows that blew out the candles. For me the story which has the ability to create the most tension and suspense is The Speckled Band because, all the way through the reader knows that there is going to be a scientific explanation. It isn't reliant on the fact that the reader believes there is an unknown supernatural force present. I understand that a story has to have excitement in it to make it interesting so I believe that, both darkness and isolation are effective at increasing tension and suspense. The darkness has the ability to do this without forcing the reader to revert to a supernatural explanation. Ruin and decay rely on the supernatural to create tension and suspense and so I don't consider these an important aspect in the story. In conclusion I think that the most important aspect in the Gothic literature is the unknown, unanswered questions that compel the reader to read on and find the answer. ...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 Miscellaneous 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 Miscellaneous essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    'The Darkness out there'.

    3 star(s)

    "boys matured later" when Kerry was being far more mature and perceptive. We can see that Sandra is really na�ve. In 'The Darkness out There', Penelope Lively uses third person narrative.

  2. The Adventure of the Speckled Band

    The phrase 'so tall...' is placed initially in the sentence for emphasis. Conan Doyle uses words like 'dashed' to show the kind of person Dr Roylott is. Dr Roylott socialises and consorts with gypsies and allows them on his land, which is contrary to what normally happened in Victorian Britain.

  1. GCSE Essay on Tension in "Turn of the screw"

    James cleverly manipulates our assumptions to create an atmosphere of tension. Instead of the gothic building that we expect, we are introduced to something much more pleasant; the Governess upon her arrival is surprised and delighted at what she sees "what greeted me was a good surprise...

  2. Adrian Mole Chapter Notes

    June 10th Adrian is officially in love with Pandora. June 11th Adrian is too much in love to write anything. June 12th Adrian had a message from school, saying that Bert needed him. He went over with Pandora. Bert was ill, Adrian called the doctor.

  1. How Does Graham Green use detail to create atmosphere in his short stories?

    Mrs Carter is described similar to Mrs Baines from when it says, "Mrs Carter said with a thin smile". This is very similar to Mrs Baines. Both Mrs Baines and Mrs Carter are described as bitter people. I can tell this from when it says, "there was a depth of

  2. Revenge- A fictional story

    You're so rude just like your mother!' Robert had lost his temper. Anna just sat in the corner of the room, hiding her laugh behind a book. She was completely dissimilar to her younger sister. Natasha was still studying at school to take her GCSE's and Anna was taking a gap year after having taken her A Levels.

  1. Callum and Sephy's Emotional Journey

    He leaves the school with no immediate plans of ever returning. That night Callum goes to Sephy's bedroom and they spend the night together and they get all the things that have been annoying them and sort them out. They dream about running away together and imagine what it would

  2. Distrust and Isolation in Kafkas Metamorphosis

    Strangely for a writer of the 20th century, Kafka travelled very little, being born in Prague and dying in the comparatively close city of Vienna. Having been born in the 'Old Town' region, it is generally thought that the

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