How Does H.G Wells Create Tension and Suspense in “the Red Room” Essay

The red room written by H. G. Wells was written in the year 1894. It is written in a gothic style and is a physiological thriller that was very popular at the time. The story involves many of the typical themes and settings such as a dark haunted castle, spiral staircases, evil shadows and subterranean passages. H. G. Wells uses a lot of language techniques like similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, alliteration and repetition to create suspense and tension.

The author writes the story in first person this creates tension with an immediate effect. Its makes then reader feel as there in the narrator’s position, seeing what he is seeing hearing what he is hearing as he experiences it. This creates tension because as the narrator does something in the story the reader pictures himself or herself doing it this manipulates the reader because it puts them in the narrators place witch can have a logical effect on the reader and make them feel insecure.

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At the beginning of the story the narrator seems very calm and confident as he says “it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me” the word tangible means that the ghost would be capable of being touched by the narrator. This shows that he is over confident and very rational. This makes the reader think that something will happen to the narrator in the end witch is creates dramatic tension. The descriptions of the 3 old people create suspense and tension by making them sound ghostly and close to death. hung pale and pink from his decaying yellow teeth” this shows that he is old because is skin is pale and his teeth are yellow. This creates tension to the reader because there are three old people with weird features on the faces and there must be an explanation to why they have that for example a ghost. As the narrator begins his journey to the red room his mood changes, he starts to become uneasy and a little irrational because he starts to notice things like and shadow that looks evil. “the impression of someone crouching to waylay me” his mind is starting to play tricks on him, seeing things that re not really there, this puts him even more on edge as he puts his hand in his gun and moves on “then with my hand in the pocket that held my revolver, I advanced” this shows that the narrator has been out into an irrational state of mind.

The Tension starts to settle when the narrator lights lots of candles. “On the mantelshelf, too, were more candles in china candlesticks. All these I lit one after the other”. the narrator starts to become a bit more rational and calms down, this also calms the reader down. But then the candles go out one by one and the narrator becomes totally irrational practically mad. The candle fell from my hand. I flung out my arms in a vain effort to thrust that ponderous blackness away from me, and, lifting up my voice, screamed with all my might – once, twice, thrice. Then I think I must have staggered to my feet. I know I thought suddenly of the moonlit corridor, and, with my head bowed and my arms over my face, made a run for the door”. H. G Wells creates suspence and tension here by describing everything the narrator does and things and it shows the great change from rational to irrational thoughts.

Tension is created, as the narrator is afraid of the dark corners. “and looking around that large shadowy room, with its shadowy window bays, it recesses and alcoves, one could well understand the legends that had sprouted in its black corners, its germinating darkness” The repetition of the word “shadowy” emphasises the darkness whish is symbolic of evil that creates . The words “germinating” and “sprouted” both create imagery that the darkness is spreading around the room from corner to corner, the whole room is becoming dark. Perfect stillness, too stimulating for the imagination” this shows that everything is so still that the darkness of the shadows is playing with the readers mind. This excites the reader. The setting affects the suspense and tension because of the descriptions of the surroundings. “the castle could have been deserted on the yesterday” this creates tension because it causes the reader to think that the castle had someone or something living in it yesterday. Also it portrays classic gothic literature because the story is set in a haunted castle.

Another way the setting affects the tension and suspense of the story is the time of day. The story is set predominantly at night. “this night of all nights” because the story is set at night it creates a dark and gloomy atmosphere. HG Wells uses the symbolism of darkness add tension. “ the moonlight, Coming in by the great window on the grand staircase, picked out everything in vivid black shadow or silvery illumination” the writer contrasts the imagery of the light and dark to raise tension to a maximum level. H. Wells use’s the contrast of light and dark to create suspense and tension. He uses a few different techniques to show the differences between the light and he dark “the sombre reds and blacks of the room troubled me; even woth seven candles the place was merely dim the one in the alcove flared in the draught and the fire’s flickering kept the shadows and penumbra perpetually shifting and stirring”. This uses the light and the dark by personifying the shadows. By talking about the candles and describing the room H. G Wells raises the tension greatly.