I have read two short stories from the nineteenth century which both
contain tension and suspense. They both lead up to a sense of the
unexpected at the end however it is achieved in different ways that
they are told.
The Story Of An Hour is the shorter of the two. The story starts
suddenly and a tragedy is introduced immediately. The opening
paragraph is very short as it is only one sentence but a lot of
information is given to the reader. It is written in third-person
narrative, which shows that the reader will be able to know things
that other characters don't. Two characters are brought into the
story, Mrs Mallard and her husband. We are also told that her husband
had died and that she has been suffering with 'heart trouble', 'Mrs
Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, great care was taken to
break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death'.
This builds up the tension and suspense and makes the reader think
that something is going to happen to her or that she could have more
trouble following his death. The reader is drawn into the story as the
tragedy shows that there could be sadness or misery. The detailed
opening encourages images and ideas of how the story is going to
progress, making the reader feel that a tragedy is to follow.
The Story Of An Hour is set in Mrs Mallard's house and as it continues
the setting is moved to her room for a large section of the story. At
the beginning, the setting is not obvious as the action starts
suddenly without an explanation as to where the characters are.
However in the third para...
... middle of paper ...
...ich give a biased view of them.
The narrator in The Story Of An Hour does not express their views on
the characters or events.
The other characters are not named, there is a 'man with the withered
arm', 'the old woman' who had 'her pale eyes wide open' and 'a second
old man' who was 'more bent, more wrinkled', 'more aged' and had a
shade over his eye. The narrator presents these characters to be
mysterious and disturbing, such features add to the sense of mystery.
These characters try to give him advice but he acts against it.
After reading The Red Room, I prefer The Story Of An Hour because,
although The Red Room is more surreal and mysterious, The Story Of An
Hour has a more satisfying ending. The Red Room is much more
descriptive and H.G Wells exaggerates the characters and the setting
to add to the tension.
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