Creating and Use Fear, Suspense, and Tension in The Whole Town's Sleeping and A Terribly Strange Bed

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Consider the ways in which Ray Bradbury and Wilkie Collins create and

use fear, suspense and tension in The Whole Town's Sleeping and A

Terribly Strange Bed.

Ray Bradbury and Wilkie Collins both wrote thrillers. Both writers use

similar techniques, though writing in two different eras. Both stories

are influenced by the social and historical contexts in which they are

written. Gambling was very popular in the 19th century so Wilkie

Collins decided to reflect on this topic in A Terribly Strange Bed.

Whereas, written in the 20th century A Whole Town's Sleeping has an

independent woman as a main character, equal opportunities for women

was a strong issue in the 20th century. The different centuries in

which these stories are written contribute to the historical and

cultural influences. In this paper I'm going to examine the ways in

which Bradbury and Collins contribute and create fear, suspense and

tension in their settings, plot, characters and language.

Bradbury and Collins use similar characters in both stories to create

tension. They both have a main character that is put in danger.

Bradbury's Lavinia Nebbs is a 'very straight and slim lady who is in

her thirties', she is very stubborn and pig headed. This description

of Lavinia's characteristics is very similar to the narrator in A

Terribly Strange Bed. Collin's narrator is also very independent and

headstrong. Both characters do not listen. Another characterization

technique shared by both authors is the 'voice of doom'. These

characters warn Lavinia and the narrator of impending danger. The

narrator's friend is persistent and continuously warns the narrator to

leave the gambling house. His warnings create tension and make you

wonder what's going to happen, it's like the friend is warning the

readers that something's wrong. Francine, Lavinia's friend, is

constantly pleading with Lavinia, and telling her to stay at her

house. Lavinia like the nameless narrator, doesn't want to listen,

this leads to the impression that she is in danger.

The contrasting attitudes between the characters affect the atmosphere

incredibly. Lavinia and Francine are two very different people.

Lavinia is very independent and dominant whereas, Francine is not as

independent and seems to be a follower. At all times she is pleading

for them to stay in and not go out, she had the chance to stay in, not

follow them and in return be safe and out of danger, but she felt she

had to follow the other two. In Francine following them this shows

that she is a weak character, maybe too weak for her own good. The way

the characters are so different makes the reader question, whether

Lavinia is a bad influence on Francine, maybe one day she will go a

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