Compare and Contrast Ways in Which the Writers Create Suspense, Atmosphere and Setting in the Two Short Stories. Comment on Language and Structure. the Red Room and the Adventures of the Speckled Band

Topics: Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, Arthur Conan Doyle Pages: 6 (2276 words) Published: October 12, 2009
The Red Room builds the suspension with the title; we as the reader are immediately attracted to the title "The Red Room" because it raises so much curiosity and leaves many unanswered questions. "What is the red room?" "Why is it red?" The colour red is associated with fear, danger and maybe even blood so is the room dangerous? Our minds can create so many thoughts about this one title that we are filled with an urge to read on to find the answers to our questions. With the speckled band we are made curious by red herrings and information which is very difficult to make sense of. So you carry on reading hoping to discover the elusive mystery Sherlock Holmes is attempting to solve. The red room is set in Loaraine castle, a scary mysterious haunted place. Most of the castle is only lit with moon light with the stairs leading to the “Red room” covered in shadow, so you don’t know what could be lurking round the corner. When she enters the red the red room it is in total darkness apart from her candle. But she lights all the candles around the room making it feel safe as she can see everything until they start going out. The speckled band is set in a country town giving the feeling you can do anything and get away with it. The actual house that the story revolves around is set far away from any other houses so whatever happens there will go unnoticed very easily. ‘The Red Room’ uses metaphors to create atmosphere and suspense as it says “A monstrous shadow of him crouched upon the wall and mocked his action as he poured and drank.” This highlights one of the men as monstrous. The shadow has been given a personality and the writer talks about it as if it is its own being. This creates a gap in the readers mind to view the shadow from a different perspective. ‘The Red Room starts off by the narrator talking to the caretakers of the castle. “I can assure you, ‘said I, ‘that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me.” From this line, we see a glimpse of the characters personality. He or she is educated who may be stubborn and inexperienced, or quite wise. However, it is that the story already involves a ghost that prevents the reader from putting the book down. A short story often gets straight to the point. H.G Wells sets the scene in a warm and comforting environment. A large fire in the centre of the room makes you feel warm. The three old people huddled closely together to provide the beginning of the story that reminds you not to relax. We never find out their real names and their features make you feel suspicious of them. Tension is built by the opinions of the four people in the room. One younger man is sceptical about The Red Room being haunted whilst the elder three dare not even go in. Repetition is used to build tension; “It’s your own choosing.”

“This night of all nights.”
This is used to add more suspense and tension to the story and add a sense of mystery. These are warnings to the young narrator to tell him, he shouldn’t go, but they are allowing him to make his own decisions. They tell us nothing about the room and why he shouldn’t go, so we read on because we want to find out why this night is so important and so special. The location of this short story is typical of the genre; a castle is the perfect setting for a ghost story. The contrast between the original room and the “Chilly, echoing passage” that the young man experiences suggests that this area is clearly unknown. The old people are so afraid of the red room that they stay well away from it in the warmth, and knowing this makes you feel very tense. The descriptions are long and slow showing the young man’s walk towards his destination. He comes across what looks like someone is in front of him. “... gave me the impression of someone crouching to way lay me.” Not knowing what it is, it builds tension rapidly as he advances towards it. Here the author instigates an anti-climax releasing us slightly from the tension. The author relieves...
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