How Are Suspense and Tension Created in The Red Room?
In The Red Room by H.G. Wells a lot of suspense and tension is
created. The Red Room fits into the gothic genre because it has some
of the requirements for a gothic story in it, like, being set in a
castle, an atmosphere of mystery and suspense, a prophecy, the
supernatural and high levels of emotion. The story creates tension in
lots of ways such as, shadows, noises, charcters and general mystery
surrounding the red room.
At the beginning of The Red Room the author creates tension by having
the narrator straight away in a scene which is unusual to him, he is
in a dark old room with old people who are mostly disfigured and
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“My precise examination had done me good…” So after looking around
the red room the narrator has now managed to settle himself that he is
alone in the red room. It is important that this is realised because
it is lowering tension so it can be built back up again, so the
tension does not reach a peak before the main events of the story.
Tension reaches its peak in The Red Room when the narrator becomes
extremely scared and by what is going on inside of the red room.
“… speaking with a half-hysterical facetiouness.” The narrator is now
becoming hysterical with fear; he has mainly become this frightened
because of what the candles are doing.
“… vanished four candles at once in different corners of the room.” So
it sounds like almost like some ghostly presence or something is going
round extinguishing the candles. The story ends still with tension
but not nearly as much because once the narrator is out of the red
room he reveals what is really in there and this significantly lowers
“Fear! Fear that will not have light nor sound, that will not bear
with reason…” so actually the only thing that is really in the red
room is a man’s fear of the supernatural even when there is none.
The setting of the story in Lorraine Castle creates tension and
suspense because castles are seen as dark and scary places to be
wandering in at night, and the fact that Lorraine Castle is deserted
makes it even worse.
“… deserted on the yesterday instead of eighteen months ago.” It
creates tension because we wonder for what reason was the castle
deserted for. The rumours of what exists in Lorraine Castle and its
supernatural reputation help to create a lot of tension.
“In which the young duke had died,” this creates tension by; again,
leaving us wondering what killed the duke in The Red Room. The
description of the passageways the narrator has to travel through to
get to The Red Room
“The long, draughty, subterranean passage was chilly and dusty…” the
fact that the passage way is unusual to what we are used to and makes
us think it is in someway inhospitable, and, what has made it so
chilly and draughty? Why does nobody use it? These are all questions
it leaves us, the reader, thinking which creates tension. The
description of The Red Room itself increases the levels of tension,
“…blackness of the wide chimney and tapped the dark oak panelling for
secret opening.” He feels suspicious of the room and also feels small
inside compared to it, this helps to create tension because we are
unaware of what is in the room and there is a sort of other
worldliness to it. This setting fits the gothic genre set in a castle
and this helps to create tension.
Suspense is also built in the story by the characters, in particular
the old people, who are the keepers of the castle. The description of
these old people helps to create tension because they are almost
“..his lower lip, half averted, hung...