Comparing The Red Room by H.G. Wells and The Darkness Out There by Penelope Lively

Comparing The Red Room by H.G. Wells and The Darkness Out There by Penelope Lively

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Comparing The Red Room by H.G. Wells and The Darkness Out There by Penelope Lively

The "Red Room" was the earlier of the two stories written in 1896 by
H.G. Wells and "The Darkness Out There", written by Penelope Lively
was published in1984.

The titles of both stories suggest that fear or horror will play a
part. "The Darkness Out There" generates an eerie feeling by not
defining a specific threat but leaving it open to the imagination.
"The Red Room" is not as scary but the use of red often shows danger
or fear and this is why it has been used here.

H.G. Wells does not give his main character a name as it is written in
the first person. Penelope Lively gives the girl, Sandra, a name but
it is rarely referred to. In both cases this is to make it feel as if
it is the reader inside the story.

Both stories are structured similarly as they both start by setting
the scene and describing the characters and then working up to the
climax, reasoning and conclusion of the stories.

The language used is very different. H.G. Wells in "The Red Room"
describes everything in great detail using words which add feeling and
fear for the reader, for example "…his eyes were covered by shade, and
his lower lip, half averted, hung pale and pink from his decaying
yellow teeth". Penelope Lively does not go into such great detail and
basically outlines a view of people and objects so it can be left to
the reader's imagination. The difference between the times in which
they were written also means that individual words and sentences in
the red room seem old fashioned, "I must confess, I scarce expected
these grotesque custodians." This language is...


... middle of paper ...


...ifiable in that someone
did die up there while doing the same as the man, but again it is
rumours of a ghost or some other supernatural being that makes the man
scared. The fear is increased by the darkness. The going out of the
candles may just have been them running out, and it was his mind that
was telling him that it was caused by something supernatural. The man,
like Sandra, is placed in a fearful position, he is on his own in an
old house with only his mind and imagination.

I think that "The Darkness Out There" is a better story because you
come from a perfect place into a horror story whereas in The Red Room
you know from the first sentence where the story will lead.

The stories were both based on fear coming from your own senses and
imagination, although the actions of Mrs Rutter were truly
frightening.

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