For both stories that I have selected H. G. Wells and The Red Room, Conan Doyle and The Clubfooted Grocer each writer has used plenty of different techniques to create tension and suspense. Each of the techniques holds their own importance in the role of creating tension and suspense. Language, context gothic influences, withheld information and imagery are all of the techniques that I will be reviewing and comparing between each of the stories. In The Red Room there are many references to darkness, isolation and old places, which is a typical gothic setting.
The Red Room is set in a castle, which people often associate with isolation and if you are isolated then the only people that can help you are far away thus creating tension and suspense because the writer is implying that there is to be death or some kind of violent activity. A good example of the type of setting in The Red Room is ” The long draughtyâ€¦shadows cower and quiver ” because it has a reference to darkness where the writer has mentioned that there is a candle and there are shadows.Order now
This entails that it is dark and there is only a primitive lighting system, which implies that vision is impaired so you might not be able to see trouble when it is coming towards you. This also builds up tension and suspense, as there are constant subtle hints to violence and death. Also in that last quote the writer describes that ” the shadows cower and quiver ” and the technique used here is personification, which makes the shadows sound like they are alive and that they are like ghosts, which hints towards the supernatural.
Strange noises and weird things like “the queer old mirror” surround the castle and ” the door creaked ” which again is a subtle hint towards he supernatural. There are many more references to the darkness where the writer is constantly trying to put the fact toward the reader that the narrator has impaired vision and that it is night-time which is when supernatural things mostly occur e. g. “looked up the blackness of the wide chimney ” and ” the dark oak panelling “. It is very much the same kind of point Doyle is trying to get across in The Club Footed Grocer.
There are constant references to isolation and darkness e. g. ” desolate rolling plains “, ” depressing country” and ” bleak and sad and stern “. These are all references to isolation, which means that there are no means of help and law and order. This is a good way of implying that there is going to be some kind of violent action later on in the story and that the people involved will have to deal with it themselves rather than gain the help from some kind of authority.
In The Red Room, there are many uses of language, which create tension and suspense. The writer uses imagery many times. He uses personification when mentioning the shadows ” a shadow came sweeping up after me “, ” but its shadow fellâ€¦someone crouching to waylay me ” which increases the supernatural feel to the story and creates the feeling that the shadows are out to get the narrator. When Wells wanted a fast, very active scene, he uses a technique called verbs of action.
This is where instead of using normal verbs like “walked” he uses many other verbs like ” dashed “, ” snatched ” and ” thrust ” which increases the pace and creates more of a sense of tension and suspense. Doyle also uses this technique when there is a fast paced, violent scene where there is a fight ” lashed “, ” whirled “, ” cried ” and ” seized ” as it increase tension and suspense. Doyle also uses short sentences ” won’t tell, won’t you? We’ll see about that! Get him ready, Jim! Which create pace, tension and suspense. In The Clubfooted Grocer, Doyle uses ” dark language ” to create tension and suspense by making Steven Maples house seem like a prison ” The inmatesâ€¦rasping of locks and clattering of bars ” which entail that Steven Maple is a prisoner in his own home and has to lock himself in securely for his own safety which also hints towards violent action later on in the story. This is a very good way of creating tension and suspense. In both of the stories information is withheld.
In The Red Room, Wells has not given out any information about the room, what haunts it or the history of it. You eventually find out that fear is haunting the room but because the information is withheld it creates tension and suspense as it makes you very involved in the story. It makes the reader more involved in the plot, as your imagination is needed to think about what might haunt the room and who the apparent ghost is. In The Club Footed Grocer, Doyle uses withheld information when John Maple receives the letter from his Uncle.
Doyle doesn’t say why Steven Maple wants the services of his nephew or why he wants him to bring a gun. This creates tension and suspense because you think that there will be violence as John is told to bring his gun and you start to feel fear for John Maple because he is naÃ¯ve because he sees this trip as an “adventure” and he probably doesn’t know that he will encounter violence. Each of the writers has used characterisation as a key part of creating tension and suspense.
In the Red room, Wells has made the three old people particularly vivid by his description. He has made them all very old “the old woman “, ” pale eyes “, ” decaying yellow teeth “, ” withered arm ” and ” ancient faces ” which has made the feel of the story change as people often associate the old with death and death with the supernatural and so the story now implies tat there is going to be some kind of death or supernatural activity that is going to happen.
The narrator is very cynical and because it is a gothic horror story written in the Victorian era, many of the people reading it will have been able to sympathise and relate with him as he is a middle class Victorian which will be the majority of the readers of this story. The Victorians were very cynical and often tried to explain things by logic so he is a typical Victorian. And when the readers have related themselves with the narrator then they will experience the emotions that the narrator is feeling. This creates a very large sense of tension and suspense for the reader as they are now involved in the story.
In The Club Footed Grocer, the narrator, John Maple, is a middle class, educated Victorian gentleman. Many of the readers of this story when it was first published, would have been Victorian gentleman so they would have been able to relate to the narrator. Like most of the middle class, young Victorians, he is naÃ¯ve of life outside educated people and the law. So he has no idea of what he is about to encounter and feels that the journey to his uncles is an ” adventure ” even though there is a hint that he will encounter violence as he is told to bring his gun.
Because Steven Maple has already been described as an unsavoury character we can assume that the help that he needs is not legal and is to do with some trouble he has caused. This is an implication that there will be some kind of violence later on in the story. When John Maple is going to his uncle’s house he encounters a man who was described as ” a burly fellow ” and ” rough “. He also had earrings ” the glint of earrings in his ears ” and all these things put together would mean that he is an unpleasant character to a Victorian audience.
I conclude that the two stories may have very different plots and story lines but they both use the same techniques. The techniques used are typical gothic horror story techniques used to create tension and suspense. In my opinion, the most effective of all the techniques used is withheld information as it leads you to guess at what is going to happen. When the lot unfolds the story makes sense and you remember all the things that were withheld previously in the story and it all fits together.