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Pre 1914 Gothic Horror Stories: Techniques Used In Writing The Tell Tale Heart And The Red Room

914 words - 4 pages

The Tell Tale Heart and The Red Room are two short stories that share the genre of a gothic horror story. They are both based in the nineteenth century but the plots are very diverse from one another. The Tale Tell Heart tells the story of a man driven to insanity by his landlord’s eye whereas The Red Room is a story about an ignorant man whose disbelief in ghosts leads to him spending the entire night in a haunted room with ominous consequences. With both stories set pre 1914, the writers could expand upon their main ideas as the current time was one of huge conflict between religion and science. People were worried by the thoughts of witchcraft and magic in that era, but at the same time it intrigued them.
In both stories, the title is used to intrigue and hook the reader. In particular, ‘The Tell Tale Heart’, by Edgar Allen Poe boasts a striking title. Alliteration of a ‘T’ is used to add emphasis to the words. Poe uses ‘The’ as a definite article suggesting that this ‘tale’ is unique. A Tell Tale is usually a name given to someone who reveals secrets. These secrets often involve something bad therefore giving the impression that someone is trying to suppress a dark secret. The title uses personification to intrigue the reader and to get the reader to ask themselves questions; how can a heart tell tales?
The Red Room uses imagery to hook the reader. Similarly, H.G Wells uses ‘The’ as the definite article to make this story seem unique. Red is a colour associated with danger and blood and alerts the reader that treacherous times may lay ahead in the story. The word ‘Room’ in the title may seem to have little importance; however this describes the setting and leaves the reader in suspense, it also suggests that it is isolated, adding to the mysterious ambience.
The Tell Tale Heart is set in an old decrepit flat where only the main character and the landlord live. The whole story is limited to this setting giving the chilling feeling that it is apart from society. Not much in terms of furniture is described in the story thus making it sound empty and not ‘normal’. Night is when each part of the story is set, so the reader is never made aware of what happens in the day time. The use of night seems allow for some transformation in the main character; from a normal civilised person to a crazed psych-path.
The Red Room is shown to be set in an old castle. The ‘Red Room’ is at a far end of the castle: “…along the passage for a bit… until you come to a door… through that is a spiral staircase… half way up… is a landing...

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