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“The red room” by H.G Wells Essay

The Red Room is a ‘spine chiller’ written by H.G Wells. The story is set at Lorraine Castle where a specific room is preoccupied by ghastly spirits. This story The Red Room is about a man (narrator) who seeks spirits inside Lorraine Castle, with his only protection as his revolver. The spirit welcomes the man in an uncomfortable manner, moving furniture, candles going out without smoke and other procedures which the spirit posses. His excuse for the cause of this terror is that ghosts are not inquisitive in this room but is this man’s nature (fear) itself that is broader.

Already this has begun where effectively you contrast imagery and excitement, making the story feel haunted and more ‘spine chilling’. These contrasts of images appear suddenly such as ‘castle’ that develops other imagery ‘haunted’. This opens the story up well that makes the beginning scene effective scaring the audience and increasing their interests in the story.

The narrator in the story plays important parts showing he is unaware of the possible outcomes that may occur, this makes his character more significant. The way this makes the narrator to become more significant is the change of character. At the beginning of the story the man (narrator) represents himself as a calm and still person. The way that the narrator has expressed this is ‘that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me’.

This characteristic soon changes where he starts to hallucinate becoming superstitious of the ghastly happenings that occur around him before he enters the red room. ‘…darkness closed upon me like the shutting of an eye, wrapped about me in a stifling embrace sealed my vision’. Again the man shows another change towards his attitude in which he expresses his outer fear, talking broader, louder than he is whispering.

This makes the narrator more significant in the story than any other character

The man with the withered arm is an old character, living at this castle for ‘eight-and-twenty years’ that has not yet glanced at a ghost before his eyes.

‘Its your own choosing’ said the man with the withered arm, when the coughing has ceased for a while.

This quote shows imagery that the old man is withered on one of the two arms he has, also the way he walks indicates some other imagery that does not appeal to the story but in the audiences mind instead. Other than imagery and description that he is withered and old there is a sign of repetition. The quote above ‘Its you own choosing’ replicates, the withered man repeats this throughout the story, also this points to the audience a phrase that replicates in their minds.

Another character the old woman, again a person who has past her age in living both by her appearance and her attitude. The description of her pale eyes indicates that death is not far away spending most of her time staring at the fire.

‘This nights of all nights’

The quote above is a repetition explaining about that tonight something will happen which has never occurred before for some time. This also shows that the old woman could be either very superstitious or indeed psychic, predicting the future of tonight that something will happen.

The further character in the story is another man but older and is described in more detail than the other characters in the story. These include a crutch that held him steadily, and eyes that were small, bright, and inflamed.

‘A monstrous shadow of him crouched upon the wall and mocked his action as he poured and drank’

This personification shows human characteristics ‘monstrous shadow’ that the audience sees as a technique in creating a ‘spine chiller’. The audiences reaction in this personification is imagery of the old man drinking with a ‘monstrous shadow’ above his head enlarged onto the wall behind him.

‘There is to my mind something inhuman in senility, something crouching and atavistic; the human qualities seem to drop from old people insensibly day by day’

This quote is described as the change of mood appealing to the old people living in Lorraine castle. ‘Human qualities seem to drop from old people’, indicate that they are becoming closer to death when loosing their human qualities. This mood also relates back to old people’s appearance for example, how they illustrate their repetitions to the man (narrator) and also the audience.

An additional character the young Duke was a person who tried to get his revenge upon the ghostly spirits to end his superstition. ‘He had begun his dying, for he had opened the door and fallen headlong down the steps’. This indicates he was pushed by his superstition to end his vigil. ‘His gallant attempt to conquer the ghostly tradition of the place’. Shows his ambition in finishing the fears that haunt Lorraine Castle.

Although the young duke does not exist with the different characters in the story, but I think he brought the plot into reality allowing the man (narrator) to play the important character. If the duke were to succeed with his ambition, and ‘conquer the ghostly tradition’ then the whole plot will become entirely different.

Throughout this ‘spine chilling’ story I have grasped shocking imagery that gives this story suspense. The author used this imagery to create an atmosphere against good vs. evil or man vs. nature, except this time nature wins the ending of the story. I have noticed that fear (nature) is stronger than superstition because fear controls both the inner and the outer person allowing them to then become superstitious. Other ways in which the author expresses atmosphere is the use of personification.

Metaphors and similes can sometimes be expressed as personification where the surroundings are intangible and inanimate. An example of how the author used this metaphor personification is ‘ocean of mystery’, where the atmosphere of the ocean is mystery, this cannot be seen nor touched therefore it is personification. These are more techniques that the author uses in creating suspense full of ‘spine chilling’ events.


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