The Red Room By H.G. Wells

4124 words - 16 pages

The Red Room by H.G. Wells

During the Victorian period, readers became engrossed with gothic
horror and psychologically thrilling literature. Subsequently making
these genres to be among one of the most read story lines; it has
remained a popular genre since.

H. G. Wells wrote science-fiction novels such as 'The first men in the
moon', but he also created 'The Red Room', written in 1894, which was
based on Gothic Horror. 'The Red Room' is comparable to numerous
horror novels today as it has the supernatural climax that is featured
in countless admired story lines.

'The Red Room' is located in an old, isolated 18th Century castle
-typical to gothic horror as it presents the dilemma of being distant
from any help that could be obtained, we can tell that the castle is
European. Being far from help pressurizes the characters into fending
for themselves which generates a captivating and riveting read. The
initial setting is in a 'large sombre room' belonging to the castle,
lit only by firelight, which bestows the contrast of light and
darkness. As the narrator ventures deeper into the story line this
contrast is sustained by the distinction of safety from the
candlelight to the chilling, unknown darkness that engulfs them.
Subsequently when the narrator reaches the destination of the actual
Red Room, he has already started presenting signs of apprehension from
the supernatural presences that are emerging in his conscience:

'My candle was a little tongue of light

In its vastness, that failed to pierce the opposite

End of the room, and left an ocean of mystery beyond

Its island of light.'

Using the phrase 'ocean of mystery' suggests that the narrator feels
smothered by the darkness, as if he is drowning its' mystery. The
reference to the ocean portrays the image of the darkness going on
forever, with the narrator feeling lost and alone inside of it.

At the beginning of 'The Red Room', the narrator is confident with his
ignorance of not accepting the paranormal:

'If you will show me to this haunted room of yours,

I will make myself comfortable there.'

This informs the other characters that he is certainly not afraid of
the 'haunted room' and it is said in a way that mocks their own fear
of the room. The narrator is classically confronted with a collection
of uncanny characters who try, with no avail, to persuade the narrator
that there are supernatural presences in the castle. In this story the
collection of uncanny characters are a group of elderly, frail and
unsociable people without names to enhance the mysterious aura around

'The old woman sat staring into the fire,

Her pale eyes wide open,

She swayed her head from side to side and muttered:

A many thing to see and sorrow for.'

The old woman's actions are peculiar and she...

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