How does the writer create tension and suspense in The Red Room?

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How does the writer create tension and suspense in The Red Room?

The writer is able to create tension and suspense through various ways

in the short story ‘The Red Room’. The opening sentence in the story

immediately mentions the supernatural, which immediately tells us that

this is a gothic story. The first sentence is dialogue, but we do not

know who is speaking. This creates tension as it is withholding

information. This is the main technique used to create both tension

and suspense through out this story.

Throughout the whole story we are not given any names of the

character, but are distinguished by a certain phrase ‘the man with a

withered arm’ shows us that each of the characters mentioned in this

story has a negative description. The negative description and the

withholding information build up tension as we want to know more about

these characters and who they are. Using negative words make out that

the characters are evil or decrepit. The words used to describe these

characters are withered, old decayed and pale.

We are also not given a name of the narrator or what business he has

at the castle. All we know is that he is sceptical about the ghosts

that these people are telling him about. ‘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. We feel what the narrator feels, and we only

know what the narrator knows. Using first person also allows us to

trust the narrator or to empathise with the character.

The use of imagery or personification increases the suspense in the

story, ‘Shadows cower’ is a very descriptive way of showing how

frightening the mansion is. It sounds as if the shadows which are

linked to darkness themselves are afraid of a greater evil. We wonder

what this great evil could be that makes evil itself tremble. Another

personification used is ‘candles writhing’. Candles are usually

associated to gothic stories, as it is only small source of light

within a vast darkness of the room. These personifications and imagery

brings the house to life as it makes you feel and see things much
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