How W.W. Jacobs, H.G. Wells and Charles Dickens Create Suspense in their Gothic Horror Stories
In these gothic horror stories the authors create suspense two main
ways. The first is that they use element of gothic horror in their
stories and the second is how they use words and phrases to create
tension. The first of these would include features such as darkness or
isolation to unnerve the reader and create suspense.
The use of darkness shows through all three stories but in different
forms. In The Monkey's Paw W.W. Jacobs uses darkness to create unease
by making Herbert return at night. This alone dose not create suspense
but it makes the characters become frantic as Mrs. White tries to open
the door but cannot as she cannot see and Mr. White is also
frantically looking for The Monkey's Paw but cannot find it due to the
darkness. In The Red Room H.G. Wells takes a different approach to the
use of darkness by, not using darkness to make an event, such as the
return of Herbert, seem more terrifying but instead uses darkness in
such a way that it becomes the source of the horror itself. Charles
Dickens also uses darkness in his story. When the Signal Man is
telling the narrator of what is troubling him the reader is made more
fearful as the explanation takes place at night when the hut is
surrounded by darkness. All three authors use darkness in their
stories but they use it in different ways but all give the same effect
of creating suspense.
Candles, or some kind of flame, are also used in the three stories.
Firstly in The Red Room candles give the narrator a false sense of
security as when the room is lit up the narrator feels safe, although
the sprit is still in the room with him and then when the light is
taken away the narrator is unnerved and become afraid. 'The matches
fell form his hand.' This phrase is used in The Monkey's Paw when Mr.
White drops the matches which he needs to light a candle. This shows
that candles are unreliable as they can easily go out and matches are
also needed to light them. 'He held up his light.' This tells the
reader that in the Signal Man Charles Dickens does not use candles
when the narrator is going back home in the middle of the night but,
instead, uses a gas lamp. This makes the reader fell safer at this
point in the story but the Charles Dickens uses a fire in the
signalman's hut to cast 'flickering shadows' which create tension.
Death is also a common theme through all the stories. In the Signal
Man the Signal Man is killed by the train. In The Red Room we are told
of the 'poor young countess' who had died in The Red Room. W.W. Jacobs
also uses death by killing Herbert but also uses the undead by
bringing Herbert back to life but in his condition which he died.
Mystery is also used through out the three different stories. W.W.