Essay on Fear and Tension in The Whole Towns Sleeping and A Terribly Strange Bed

Essay on Fear and Tension in The Whole Towns Sleeping and A Terribly Strange Bed

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Fear and Tension in The Whole Towns Sleeping and A Terribly Strange Bed

The essay i have written is a comparison of two short stories. One
written by Ray Bradbury in 1950's and titled "The Whole Towns
Sleeping". The other was written by Wilkie Collins in 1856 and
entitled "A Terribly Strange Bed".

"The Whole Towns Sleeping" is about a middle-aged spinster called
"Lavinia" 37, who goes to the cinema with her friends while a
mysterious killer, is at large. She is fully convinced that the killer
would not strike again for another four weeks because a murder has
just occurred, and they seem to happen at intervals when 'the moon is
full', and superstitiously then 'men do strange things' because of the
influence of the moon on their minds. This brings in the horror
aspects and the superstitions that people believed in, and creates a
false sense of security in Lavinia.

"A Terribly Strange Bed" is about a wealthy young educated man who
lives in Paris. He is used to going to the best gambling houses, but
tires of them with there showy surroundings, and goes with his friend
to a 'seedy looking' gambling house in a salubrious area. Normally he
finds that winning money gives him no pleasure, because he has plenty,
but winning in a seedy gambling house, gives him a sense of excitement
because he meets people who desperately need to win to survive. He
wins a lot of money and is persuaded to stay the night by an old
soldier because he has had quite a bit to drink. While trying to
sleep, the bed canopy descends and he narrowly escapes death. He
realiseshe's been fooled and escapes through the window.

"The Whole Towns Sleeping" ends on a cl...


... middle of paper ...


...terror was, and I wouldn't let myself
think!"

Also in "A Terribly Strange Bed" when the canopy descends Faulkner
says "I looked up motionless, speechless, breathless", this
effectively builds up tension, like "without stopping to draw my
breath, without wiping the cold sweat from my face i rose instantly on
my knees to watch the bed top".

In "The Whole Towns Sleeping" the ending is tense with a cliffhanger,
and we can assume that Lavinia is the next victim of the killer the
people call 'The Lonely One'

In "A Terribly Strange Bed" the ending is drawn from the information
of how the police discover that the employees of the gambling house
have tried to kill Faulkner and the way they have tried to kill him.
The Protagonist has resolved not to be so foolish again and put
himself in such a dangerous situation.

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