How Tension and Suspense is Maintained in the Old Forest

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In the chapter, ‘The Old Forest’ from Lord Of The Rings, the author is able to create tension by using short sentences such as ‘It was quite useless’ and ‘Suddenly he stopped.’ Using short sentences is effective in building and maintaining suspense because it creates a sudden pause. The sudden pause is used to emphasize or highlight a point.

Secondly, the reader is given very little amount of description about the dangers inside the ‘abominable wood.’ Merry provides a brief description about inside of the forest but nothing is tangible. The lack of total understanding generates mystery and thus, creates suspense because the reader is awaiting and can only guess the horror that the hobbits will face.

By using imagery, Tolkien is able to create a sense of tension. He illustrates a fog that opens ‘reluctantly before them’ and closes ‘forbiddingly behind them.’ The adverbs ‘reluctantly’ and ‘forbiddingly’ demonstrate something sinister and almost foreboding. The fog creates tension and suspense because it blocks the view of the hobbits making them helpless and vulnerable because they don’t know where they’re going and anything can be sprung upon them. Additionally, the fog is described like it has a mind of its own and it can choose whether or not to harm the hobbits.

Tolkien makes abundant use of Frodo’s song to create suspense. For example, the last line; ‘For east or west all woods must fail…’ The line is interpretive as provocative against the trees which creates suspense and tension because the reader wonders how the trees would counteract. Furthermore, we already know that the trees were infuriated because most of them were burnt down so the thought that they would ‘fail’ would most likely evoke the same anger.

Moreover, the trees are described as a ‘menace’ which is a person or a thing that is most likely to cause harm. Tolkien uses the simile, ‘going up like reaching arms’, to describe the menacing trees. The description suggests that the trees...
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