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The Ways to Create Suspense in the Two Short Stories

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The Red Room builds the suspension with the title; we as the reader are immediately attracted to the title “The Red Room” because it raises so much curiosity and leaves many unanswered questions. “What is the red room? ” “Why is it red? ” The colour red is associated with fear, danger and maybe even blood so is the room dangerous? Our minds can create so many thoughts about this one title that we are filled with an urge to read on to find the answers to our questions.

With the speckled band we are made curious by red herrings and information which is very difficult to make sense of.

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So you carry on reading hoping to discover the elusive mystery Sherlock Holmes is attempting to solve. The red room is set in Loaraine castle, a scary mysterious haunted place. Most of the castle is only lit with moon light with the stairs leading to the “Red room” covered in shadow, so you don’t know what could be lurking round the corner.

When she enters the red the red room it is in total darkness apart from her candle. But she lights all the candles around the room making it feel safe as she can see everything until they start going out.

The speckled band is set in a country town giving the feeling you can do anything and get away with it. The actual house that the story revolves around is set far away from any other houses so whatever happens there will go unnoticed very easily. ‘The Red Room’ uses metaphors to create atmosphere and suspense as it says “A monstrous shadow of him crouched upon the wall and mocked his action as he poured and drank. ” This highlights one of the men as monstrous. The shadow has been given a personality and the writer talks about it as if it is its own being.

This creates a gap in the readers mind to view the shadow from a different perspective. ‘The Red Room starts off by the narrator talking to the caretakers of the castle. “I can assure you, ‘said I, ‘that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me. ” From this line, we see a glimpse of the characters personality. He or she is educated who may be stubborn and inexperienced, or quite wise. However, it is that the story already involves a ghost that prevents the reader from putting the book down. A short story often gets straight to the point. H.

G Wells sets the scene in a warm and comforting environment. A large fire in the centre of the room makes you feel warm. The three old people huddled closely together to provide the beginning of the story that reminds you not to relax. We never find out their real names and their features make you feel suspicious of them. Tension is built by the opinions of the four people in the room. One younger man is sceptical about The Red Room being haunted whilst the elder three dare not even go in. Repetition is used to build tension; “It’s your own choosing. ” “This night of all nights. ”

This is used to add more suspense and tension to the story and add a sense of mystery. These are warnings to the young narrator to tell him, he shouldn’t go, but they are allowing him to make his own decisions. They tell us nothing about the room and why he shouldn’t go, so we read on because we want to find out why this night is so important and so special. The location of this short story is typical of the genre; a castle is the perfect setting for a ghost story. The contrast between the original room and the “Chilly, echoing passage” that the young man experiences suggests that this area is clearly unknown.

The old people are so afraid of the red room that they stay well away from it in the warmth, and knowing this makes you feel very tense. The descriptions are long and slow showing the young man’s walk towards his destination. He comes across what looks like someone is in front of him. “… gave me the impression of someone crouching to way lay me. ” Not knowing what it is, it builds tension rapidly as he advances towards it. Here the author instigates an anti-climax releasing us slightly from the tension. The author relieves the reader by revealing that it is only a statue. Statues in the dark are classic elements to a ghost story.

Often in human form they make you feel as though you are being watched when you pass by them. Due to this, we take little comfort in them as we can feel that he is coming closer to the red room. On entering the red room, he locks the door behind him to prevent anything following him inside but he cannot get out. He arranges the furniture to suit himself giving the reader a momentary release. However, when he becomes aware of the shadows, the tension instantly rises again. It is typical that the lights begin to go out at midnight. These elements just make the story more intense.

The metaphor used to describe his candle shows how much he relies on it; “A little tongue of light in its vastness, that has failed to pierce the opposite end of the room. ” The fact that he places his revolver directly in front of him shows the reader that he is scared and so we become increasingly scared also. While the fire is lit we feel more secure than the original room. It provides light, which allows us to face whatever is in the red room and prevents us from allowing our imagination to frighten us. When he is in control of the candles he is able to joke which makes us calmer and less nervy. When the ghost came in, I could warn him not to trip over them. ” H. G Wells uses personification to bring life into the darkness. It is the enemy, the thing that we must try and resist. “Black shadow sprang back. ” “Quality of a presence. ” “Lurking, Living thing. ” Getting nervous he tries to reassure himself by lying that a draught is responsible when there isn’t one. He makes another joke in a hysterical way but this time we can take no comfort from it. It is clear that he has become a victim of his own fears. Approaching the climax, the tension is highlighted by the structure of each sentence.

The sentences are long but each one containing many short pieces of information. “I bruised myself on the thigh against the table, I sent a chair headlong, I stumbled and fell and whisked the cloth from the table in my fall. ” The way it is written is meant to show the man’s constant attempts dashing back and forward over to try the relight the candles, his total loss of control. The climax comes when he runs into something and knocks himself out; up to this point the suspense was unbearable. The gap in time, when he wakes up in the morning after being rescued by the three old people slowly unwinds tension.

It is now clear that he was fighting his own fear and eventually it overcame him. For each person, their experience would be different inside the red room, as they would have to fight their own personal fears. The language plays an important part in this short story. With the castle, it sets the time and place of the events and also gives you a clue about the characters. Overall as the reader, you feel satisfied that the story has been unravelled to you but some questions are still left unanswered. What caused the candles to go out? The last line is just as effective as the first: So long as this house of sin endures. ” Sin is associated with evil and evil can take many shapes or forms, with this the story ends and it leaves you paused for a moment taking in all that has happened. The Adventure of the Speckled Band The stories are structured to include mystery and murder; he achieves this by using a detective format. The Sherlock Holmes Stories were appealing during the Victorian and Edwardian times due to his variety of techniques. Also many people at the time believed in the detective’s actual existence and felt safe to take risks because he always caught the criminal.

Conan Doyle makes you feel anxious about what will happen next. By creating mysterious setting, using strange characters and providing small hints he makes us desperate to read on without giving away the story. ‘The Speckled Band’ is a typical murder mystery where a crime needs solving and a person needs to be protected from death. Throughout the beginning of the story the narrator, Dr Watson, builds up a relationship of trust between him and the reader. This means everything he says is instantly believable and this amplifies the suspense.

When he refers to the last 70 cases and believes this story is the most memorable of all we instantly wonder, why is this story so good? It simply feeds our curiosity to continue reading. Our impressions of Helen Stoner at first are that she is grieving. “She was dressed in black and heavily veiled. ” This does not only suggest mourning. Black is associated with death and evil and perhaps the veil is used to hide herself from someone, or possibly something? The simile used to express her fear and agitation suggests that she is weak and vulnerable: “Restless frightened eyes, like those of some hunted animal. Conan Doyle’s description of her portrays her as a rapidly ageing woman. “Her features and figure were those of a woman of 30, but her hair was shot with a premature grey. ” It is clear that some great amount of stress or events has truly scared her and caused her to age considerably. When your hair turns grey early in life, it is often a sign of overwhelming stress and as the reader we are unaware of the details of the death and it remains a mystery to us. We are very intrigued as to what caused her to be so upset. “It is not cold that makes me shiver it is fear, it is terror. She is no suspect in this unknown mystery; she is a victim desperate for help/ Our first impression of Dr Roylott is somewhat different from reality. He seems to be a better man than his relatives. With a medical degree and a large practise it is totally unexpected that he is capable of murder. “Beat his native butler to death. ” As his personality and past offences are revealed he becomes a typical murder suspect in a mystery story. When he confronts Sherlock Holmes about talking with Helen we feel the tension rise. This person is capable of murder and Holmes is rude straight back to him.

It is clear that he is dangerous man as the reader we are very curious as to why he doesn’t want Helen speaking to them. Although bending a metal poker was a sure threat and sign of strength we do not feel intimidated because Holmes has an equal amount of strength when he bends it back to shape, and we know they are an equal match for one another. Dr Roylott’s physical appearance confirms our suspicions. “A huge man” “large face seared with a thousand wrinkles and marked with every evil passion” “deep-set, bile shot eyes”.

We can accuse him of being the murderer; he has the temper and experience to be a killer, and also the motive. If his daughters were to marry he would lose his money and if they were dead he’d keep it all. There are still many unanswered questions though, what is the speckled band? How did Julia really die? When Holmes and Watson arrive at Stoke Moran the atmosphere became dull. “The building was of grey, lichen-blotched stone. ” The word grey makes the atmosphere feel dull and drab whilst having ‘two curving wings like the claws of a crab’ makes you very anxious, it makes you feel as though the entire house will grab you.

A description such as this creates the tension that is building to a climax, it is clear something is going to happen inside the house. The very thought that Holmes is inside the house of a killer is enough to cause the reader to feel very tense. “All was dark in the direction of the Manor House. ” Darkness instantly builds tension because without the light, things are not what they seem. The word ‘dark’ is repeated often to create tension and remind the reader that the mood is uneasy. “Dark roads… ” “… Across the lawn in to the darkness… ” “… Left in the darkness. The use of language is vital in the success of this story, it determines each character. Holmes is very intelligent with an eye for clues, and who is a sophisticated gentleman. Helen is a very fragile woman but most importantly Dr Roylott’s threats and attitude helped us to accuse and point the finger at him. The resolution of the story is very satisfying. Justice has been served when the murderer brings about his own destruction. Holmes knew the answers to out questions but let us reveal them ourselves which helped to create the suspense. Unlike the ‘Red Room’ this ending leaves us with no unanswered questions to play on our minds.

Cite this The Ways to Create Suspense in the Two Short Stories

The Ways to Create Suspense in the Two Short Stories. (2018, Jan 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-ways-to-create-suspense-in-the-two-short-stories/

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