How Tension and Suspense Is Built Up In The Red Room

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How Tension and Suspense Is Built Up In The Red Room

There are many different ways in which HG Wells builds up tension and

suspense in 'The Red Room'. One way in which he does this is through

the use of language. One of the main effective uses of language in

'The Red Room' is the use of personification; "made the shadows cower

and quiver". The shadow embeds fear into the reader, as they wonder if

the shadow is alive, which creates tension as the reader wonders what

will happen next. Furthermore, the fact that the phrase makes it seem

that the shadows are scared of something, and the reader would

normally associate shadows with blackness and fear, makes the reader

feel uneasy and heightens tension. It is almost as if fear is afraid

of fear itself. The setting of the story also creates tension and

suspense; "the great red room of Lorraine Castle, in which the young

duke died". The fact that it is set in a castle is not only typical of

a gothic genre, but it builds suspense by saying; "in which the young

duke died". This makes the reader feel that death is imminent. It

heightens tension as it makes the reader feel as if the narrator will

die at the end of the story.

Dialogue is also used by the author to create tension. At first the

narrator is sceptical and doubtful about the red room and its alleged

supernatural powers; "I can assure you ... that it will take a very

tangible ghost to frighten me". His arrogant behaviour creates

uneasiness in the reader's mind as it is typical in a Gothic story for

the smug non-believer to be the first victim of the story. However, as

the story continues, we see that there is very little dialogue in the

later parts of the story. Conversely, the fact that the story is

written in the first person compensates for the lack of dialogue in

the later parts of the story. We can also see that where there is
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