The story creates tension in lots of ways such as, shadows, noises, charcters and general mystery surrounding the red room. At the beginning of The Red Room the author creates tension by having the narrator straight away in a scene which is unusual to him, he is in a dark old room with old people who are mostly disfigured and slightly other worldly in the way they look and behave. “… I had scarce expected these grotesque custodians.” He sees them not as ordinary people but as being grotesque so is clearly unhappy being with them. The author also immediately creates tension by talking of ghosts and the supernatural straightaway. “… It will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me.” So we already have talk of ghosts in only the first line!
His perception upon different situations shows his disbelief in ghosts, “I left the door wide open… and then I shut them in”. The phrasing of this suggests that they (the old people) are in more danger than he is. From the beginning of The Tell Tale Heart, imagery is used to give a striking impact on the reader. The title uses personification upon the object of a heart which contrasts and holds the reader in an eerie suspense. Poe uses a number of gothic symbols to represent small things throughout the story meanwhile portraying the idea of death.
‘That it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me’, shows a conflict between the superstitious and the sceptical. This builds up tension as we know that in most gothic stories, the sceptical are usually the ones to get punished. The narrator is mocking these other characters, which builds suspense as we know that in the end it will be he that will be hurt. Another way in which the writer builds up tension and suspense is by writing the story in first person. This makes us feel emotionally drawn to the character.
"The Fall of the House of Usher" is a great example of a story on the basic level of a gothic horror, in which the element of fear is evoked in its highest form. There are many different elements, such as setting, feelings, themes, and characters, that play an essential role in suggesting this. One of the greatest aspects of Poe's writings is that he makes the reader actually experience the feelings of his characters. As in many "scary stories" the characters start doubting themselves and those around them. Everyone has been in a situation where they know something is not quite right and immediately paranoia sets in.
The reason behind him burying his sister is that he is sick in the head. As a reader our minds do not see this reason because our imagination distracts us from it. Instead of paying attention to why he buried her the reader is picturing Usher burying her alive for no reason. Your imagination likes to twist situation when fear occurs. There are infographics in “ How to Tell You’re Reading a Gothic Novel”, by Adam Frost and Zhenia Vasiliev that tell us how certain things said in the story that are suppose to surprise the reader making them fear the story.
This ambiguity creates a mysterious mood as the reader is unaware of whom these people are. His use of words such as ‘nervously’ and ‘whisper’ gives a suggestion that something is going to happen and creates a nervous expectation and suspense within the reader. Both short stories are part of the ‘Gothic’ genre and HG Wells heavily emphasises horror and mystery throughout the two stories to create a tense and suspenseful atmosphere. One way he creates this kind of atmosphere is through his physical descriptions of both the location and the characters. In ‘The Red Room’ he describes how ‘the grand staircase picked out everything in vivid black shadow or silvery il... ... middle of paper ... ...shment, which helps to add suspense, ‘Blood-red vapour as red and hot as sin’.
Poe suggested in the story that the denial of fears can lead to madness and insanity. This has clearly shown through the weakening of Roderick Usher's mind and the resulting impact on the narrator of the story. In the beginning of the story, Poe used images and descriptions to create a gothic picture of the Usher mansion and to set up a sense of fear and terror. The narrator looked "upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain - upon the bleak walls - upon the vacant eye-like windows - upon a few rank sedges" and was disturbed. Once he saw these depressing characteristics of the house, he had an idea as to what he would find inside.
A gothic story is a romantic fiction with its setting usually in a ruined gothic castle or abbey. A gothic novel emphasises mystery and horror and it is filled with ghost haunted rooms, underground passages, and secret stair ways. The scene in the red room is set in an old, derelict castle- Lorraine Castle in which a young duke has died. This setting already suggests a mystery and immediately contributes to suspense in the story. The meaning of fear is when one is afraid to face up to their phobia.
Horror Versus Terror in Gothic Literature Gothic literature can be described as literature that is used to terrify people by portraying situations that border between reality and unreality. The purpose of Gothic literature is to terrify people, not to horrify them. The definition of horror and terror is often misunderstood, many people think they have the same meaning. Devendra Varma, in the Gothic Flame described the difference between these words as "an awful apprehension and sickening realization." A situation that is horrifying is usually described very distinctly.
This links directly to the Gothic genre, drawing attention to the allegedly haunted ‘Red Room’. Similarly in the first sentence attention is instantaneously grasped ‘It will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me’, making a ghost feel almost tangible to the reader as well as leaving them asking questions, especially as the story develops and centres around an unnamed protagonist. This is equally important because the ‘Red Room’ is written in first person, which makes the story more personal and makes the reader feel a direct connection with this unknown narrator. It seems only knowing one viewpoint restricts the reader's knowledge and therefore many key details are omitted resulting in an element of ambiguity. Initially Wells raises the suspense level through introducing the reader to the personalities of the three ‘ancient’ and ‘grotesque custodians’.