The Red Room by H.G.Wells and A Vendetta by Guy De Maupassant

Good Essays
Examine what aspects of the The Red Room by H.G.Wells and A

Vendetta by Guy De Maupassant are typical of the horror and ghost

story genre.

At first look, both of these stories appear to be alike. One is a

horror story and one is a ghost story. To most people these are

extremely similar. These two stories however do not fulfil the

stereotypical expectations of a typical ‘scary story’; one of them

examines psychological fear and the thoughts in the mind of a victim,

the internal feelings of horror and fear. The other is a cold, dark

horror in which we are separated from the main character by use of the

third person.

‘The Red Room’ by H.G.Wells is very effective in setting up a

structure to create and sustain suspense. The story opens with a word

from the narrator, ‘I can assure you that it will take a very tangible

ghost story to frighten me’. From the first paragraph we can make an

instant assumption about the main character (the narrator). We can see

that he is a confident, scientific and dismissive young man. In the

opening paragraph we also see the residents of the house; they are

portrayed as old, decrepit people who seem to fear the young man and

everything about him. They are almost ‘consumed’ by this symbolic

house .The residents are used to show the contrasts between youth and

old age, innocence and truth. The introductions of these characters

also develop the plot more and more. It does this by exaggerating the

young man’s confidence and leads the reader to believe that something

will happen to him. For example, when the old woman says ‘tonight of

all nights’ and when the old man says ‘if you stay her to tonight,

it’s at your own risk’, it makes the reader suspect the worst.

The setting of ...

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...mbolic in that most humans have warm lips as they have

blood running through them, suggesting that she is dead inside. ‘Day

by day the old woman plotted revenge against her son’s killer’. The

revenge scene is very odd, I say this because it is the only scene in

which she shows emotion. The emotion she shows is hard to describe,

sickening is the word that first came to mind. She is excited by this

horrible killing. ‘That night she slept well’ is the closing sentence,

This suggests that her task has been fulfilled and she can die


In conclusion, both are typical of the ghost story genre in that they

both have the right sort of setting. The ‘Red Room’ uses lots of

description and personification to create psychological fear and ‘A

Vendetta’ uses small amounts of horrific imagery in an otherwise bare

and minimalist storyline to shock the reader.
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