A Story of Don Juan and The Red Room

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Which text, A Story of Don Juan or The Red Room is the more

effective ghost story? Discuss with reference to structure, character

and language.

In this essay, a comparision will be made of two texts, 'A Story of

Don Juan' by V.S Pritchett, a twentieth century text and 'The Red

Room' by H.G Wells which is a pre- twentieth century text. In order to

compare them it will be necsessary to analyse the character, structure

and language of each text to determine which text is the more

effective ghost story.

Firstly the characters of both texts have to be examined. 'Don Juan'

has two main characters, Don Juan and Quintero. Don Juan is a happy,

lively womaniser and it is written that he may have had to sleep alone

for one night. "It is said that on one night of his life Don Juan

slept alone althought I think the point may be disputed." This

quotation illustrates Don Juan's reputation as a womaniser. When he

was a guest at Quintero's house, he thought he would have to sleep

alone for one night because there were no women in Quintero's house as

even the servants were male. In contrast, Quintero is an angry, upset

widower and he wants to get back at Don Juan. Whilst Don Juan has

liaisons with inumerable women, Quintero has lost the one woman that

he truly loved. The reader is led to think that Quintero is planning

something for Don Juan and this increases the level of tension as the

reader doesn't want anything bad to happen to Don Juan because he is

the likeable character of the story.

The characters in The Red Room are very different. The main character

of The Red Room is also the narrator. He is presented as a very

arrogant man because he tells us that "it will only take a very

'tangible' ghost to frighten me." This quote shows that he thinks he

is brave and this is what makes the reader think he is arrogant.

However, later we find out that even the shadows frighten him. Also we

know more about his thoughts and feelings because he uses the first

person narrative and less about the other characters' thoughts and

feelings. We do know the other characters have some sort of deformity

"more bent, more wrinkled , more aged than the first his eyes were

covered by a shade" These descriptions make the other characters seem

mysterious and grotesque. However, it is important to point out that

these are the sort of characters that the reader would expect to find

in a ghost story.
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