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The tension built up is temporarily lifted as a perfect and surreal atmosphere is created, “The rhythmic was of the sea upon the reef was becoming audible now, and it had a pleasant sound in his ears; the water washed along the side of the canoe, and the paddle dripped between each stroke. Presently he began to doze.” This perfect setting dispels all current tension, and as the men relax Evans begins to fall asleep. Although appearing to dispel tension I believe this also creates tension. The reader is drawn into a false state of security with this perfect setting and oversees the fact that the men are falling asleep on an unknown land that they are not well adapted to. This is not as clear and straight forward as the rest of the tension contributing to the build up, but still has an effect on the reader and adds to the tension build up.
Between line 51 and line 56 a reminder of the hazards and consequences of the island are highlighted. A wrecked ship and the crew are described, “…a shipwrecked crew thinned by disease, a quarrel or so, and the needs of discipline, and at last taking to their boats never to be seen again.” This shocking and disturbing story instantly creates a massive amount of strong tension; the reader will immediately relate this short story to the men currently exploring the island and believe there is little hope for them. “Sikes and Nancy” was written by Charles Dickens in 1869 and this story deals with a great deal of effective tension build up and one of the most infamous criminals of all time!
Extremely effective and powerful tension is created immediately in this story as it starts with a description of the infamous Fagin. Fagin is the stereotypical criminal of the time; he is aggressive, impatient and overall experienced in pick-pocketing. “Fagin the receiver of stolen goods was up, bedtimes, one morning, and waited impatiently for the appearance of his new associate, Noah Claypole, otherwise Morris Bolter; who at length presented himself, and, cutting a monstrous slice of bread, commenced a voracious assault on the breakfast.” The planning of misdeeds and crime is an obvious and fairly weak source of tension here, “There seemed, indeed, no great fear of anything interrupting him, as he had evidently sat down with a determination to do a deal of business.”
Misdeeds are highlighted between lines 43 and 47 as Fagin shows Noah the woman he is to follow. The feeling of no-good is emphasised for the reader here. “Fagin pointed out a pane of glass high in the wall to Noah, and signed to him to climb up, on a piece of furniture below it, and observe the person in the adjoining room. “Is that the woman?” Fagin nodded “yes.”” Tension is well-built here and is effective on the reader.
The reader is aware of how much Fagin is paying Noah to do the job in hand; ï¿½1. In those days ï¿½1 was a great deal of money for a job, so suspicions arise for the reader and immediate and very effective tension is created. We begin to imagine just how important this job is, as someone so tight-fisted and intimidating as Fagin is willing to pay so much for one job. Although not completely obvious at the start, the setting of the story itself builds very strong and effective tension. In this time that the story is set in especially, London was a grim, sinister and dangerous place to be. The shadowy labyrinth of streets, back alleys and tunnels are the perfect environment for criminals like Fagin. This setting alone creates so much potential for bad things to happen, the reader would pick up on this sooner or later and an extremely powerful sense or tension is created.