A comparison of how tension and suspense is created in three different stories
A comparison of how tension and suspense is created in three different stories

A comparison of how tension and suspense is created in three different stories

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  • Pages: 4 (1712 words)
  • Published: October 14, 2017
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‘The Red Room’ by H. G. Wells, ‘The Clubfooted Grocer’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and ‘The Signal Man’ by Charles Dickens are all short stories set in the nineteenth century. Knowing this the reader gets the impression that the stories will be taking him or her back in time. The author makes the reader imagine the story as it is described.

All these stories convey some tension and suspense. In ‘The Red Room’, the story is about a man who is very confident that there is no such thing as ghosts. This is the first part of the story that starts to create suspense as the reader wants to find out what the man is willing to do to prove himself.He says that he will only start believing in ghosts if he meets a ‘tangible one’. This story is set in an old mansion, where there is a room which is believed to be haunted by the men and women living there.

This is also another region in the story where suspense and tension is created as the reader wants to find out what the ghost is like, why do the residents of the house believe it is harmful? The main suspense and tension is created when the man who does not believe in ghosts actually goes into the haunted room. There are many thoughts running through his mind which build up tension in his mind and the reader’s mind.He is trying not to panic but his imagination is running wild and he starts to

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jump into conclusions, ‘the shadow looked as though it was going to attack him’. The man wants his mind to stay focussed so he tries to eliminate any factors which he thinks will frighten him. He has to spend the whole night in the room so he brings in many candles and lights them up in the darkest parts of the room.

Suspense is created in many parts of the story but most suspense is created when the candles start going out. He tries to relight them and they keep going out.The reader at this point is on a climax of suspense and tension. Many questions come up in the readers mind ‘Is it the ghost? ‘ ‘What’s it going to do? ‘ In the haste of running out of the room the man knocks himself put cold by hitting himself on the wall.

When he regains consciousness in the morning, he comes to the conclusion that the fear in the room is what is haunting the room and not a ghost. In ‘The Club Footed Grocer’ the story is not about haunting but it is about betrayal, theft and violence. In the beginning, the narrator describes what his life is like and what his uncle’s life was like.He also mentions that his uncle did not have a very good reputation in the family. He also indicates that the uncle is a rich man. This comes as a mystery as the reader know thinks that why is the uncle rich and his brother not as rich? Where has he got all this money from

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The introduction of the story does not create any suspense or tension whatsoever.

The first bit of suspense and tension in the story is created when John Maple, the narrator, gets a letter from Stephen Maple, the Uncle, telling him to go visit him and if he accepts the offer he has got to get off at a certain station which is close to Stephens’s house.A few days later they receive a telegram which instructs John not to get off at the station mentioned before but to get off at the next one after that station. This is where suspense and tension builds up in the story and in the readers mind as the readers ask, ‘Why would the uncle want to change the address? ‘ ‘Why is the uncle acting so strangely? ‘ Similar questions come to the mind of the narrator. The narrator brings up a lot of questions at the start.

This is one reason why a lot of suspense is created as the reader wants to know the answer to the questions.When John is making his way to the farmer’s house he is stopped by a man who is later identified as a sailor which John finds strange as the sailor had a very absurd excuse to stop him. At this point the reader thinks ‘What is the use of the sailor? ‘ these types of questions come to mind which create tension. Furthermore the driver of the trap seemed frightened of the sailor which shows that there was something about the sailor the reader and John do not know about. Another point where suspense and tension is created is when John is at the house of the farmer who is meant to give him a place to rest and eat.

The wife of the farmer brings up a vital question which builds up a lot of tension, ‘You’ve made up your mind to go then? ‘ This question makes the reader think, ‘Why did she ask such a question? Is there anything that we do not know of that is important? Is the uncle a good man? ‘ Once John reaches the uncle’s house, he finds out that the uncle had called him for a reason. He had to help the uncle escape the claws of the sailors which John met when he was riding to the farmer’s house. This is where suspense and tension start to build up even more as the uncle tells John everything he thinks is relevant for John to know.The readers do get the feeling that the uncle is hiding something which creates tension. Tension and suspense is created through out the story, but these feelings peak when the sailors use the manservant as bait to get into the house where they try to torture Stephen. At this point in the story the reader has a lot of questions which contribute to most of the tension created.

‘What will the sailors do to the Uncle? ‘ ‘What will they do to John? ‘ The uncle tries to trick the sailors by trying to escape through the window but unfortunately he dies

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