Good Lit Essay

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"His heart was not like a basketball but like a fast, jazz drum, beating faster and faster as he climbed the stairs"(664). This is an example of the building suspense in the short story "The Haunted Boy" by Carson McCullers. It is a story of a boy Hugh who must learn how to understand his mother better and put her suicide attempt in his past. When he comes home alone the suspense builds as he must face his fears of "the other time" and go upstairs to look for his mother. The suspense builds even more as he begins to become uneasy of what has happened to her. "The Haunted Boy" is a good example of a suspenseful story that uses mood and flashback.

In the story, the author uses descriptions of the setting to help set the mood. "…but today the green front lawn with the borders of many-colored flowers was empty under the frail sunshine of the mid-April afternoon"(660). This description in the beginning of the story already tells the reader that the mood of the story is uneasy. Then the author describes the hall as empty and the uncomfortable mood continues to become more apparent. Then when Hugh almost goes upstairs but then sees the closed white bathroom door and painfully remembers "the other time," he turns away. Right from the beginning you get a feeling of uneasiness and you're now wondering in suspense what this "other time" is and why Hugh is so worried and frightened.

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Furthermore, the author uses mood to build the suspense even more when Hugh decides to go upstairs. "His feet dragged as though he waded through knee-deep water and he held on to the banisters"(664). The author uses this method of slowly describing Hugh's journey up the stairs to create an intense mood of suspense and intrigue. It makes you begin to wonder what has happened to Hugh's mother, what he is so afraid of, and what this "other time" is. The story goes on and the house is described as odd, crazy, and peculiar. Everything Hugh now sees, including himself, is seen as odd or...
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