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Exploring How Hg Wells Created An Atmosphere Of Fear And Tension In 'the Red Room'

1771 words - 7 pages

How does HG Wells build up an atmosphere of fear and show the young man reduced from self-assurance to panic and terror?The title of the story I will look at in this assignment is “The Red Room” by HG Wells. It is a ghost story, written in 1896. HG Wells uses elements from the gothic genre to enhance the sinister atmosphere in the story. “The Red Room” is written in first person, this enables the reader to experience the story through the protagonist’s perspective. I am going to examine how HG Wells builds up an atmosphere of fear and tension during the story, and shows the young man reduced from self assurance to panic and terror.HG Wells uses the very first sentences to establish that “The Red Room” is a ghost story. “It will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me” this shows the reader that straight away there is something unnatural about the story, and it attracts the reader’s attention. The old people in the story, the “grotesque custodians”, talk about the red room, and the woman gives it a mysterious feel, by saying “This night of all nights”. This suggests that there is something different and sinister about this night, but more detail is never given. This leaves the reader in suspense. The man’s self confidence is shown through his attitude towards the old people. He assumes that if there were such a thing as a ghost he would have come across one in his life. This arrogance is picked up by the woman, who gives him a warning, when she says “There’s a many things to see when one’s but eight and twenty, a many things to see and sorrow for.” She tries to hint to him that there is something to see in this house. Atmosphere is built up through the way Wells describes the old people. He describes them in an abnormal unnatural way. The author uses words like “withered” and “decayed”. This shows that the old people are very old, almost corpse-like. They are not given names, which leaves them shrouded in mystery. It makes the reader wary of the old people, and more curious. The mirror in the front room is used to show the man's self confidence. It reflects him to an "impossible sturdiness", showing that he has very large faith in himself, but the word impossible shows that he has doubts too. When the old man pours himself a drink, Wells describes a shadow on the wall which "mocked his action". This suggests that the house has a darker side, the "monstrous shadow" displays an atmosphere of eeriness.The protagonist's attitude changes when he leaves the room containing the old people. He considers the inhumanity of the people, and admits that “affected” him, “in spite of my efforts to keep myself at a matter of fact phase.” He shows that they have succeeded to unnerve him. The man refers to the old people as “spectral” and “ghostly”. This shows for the first time that he is considering the...

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