The criterion for a great horror story is fear and tension. Tension is the emotion the reader experiences in the build up to a suspicious event in the context of the two horror stories. One such example of tension is the repetition of “It’s your own choosing… ” in `The Red Room’. This makes the reader feel uneasy. The author has used repetition to create a sense of suspense. Fear is when adrenaline rushes to the brain making a person tremble with despair, sending a shiver down your spine or making the hair on your skin stand on end.
One such example is of Lavinia Nebbs running for her life in The Whole Town’s Sleeping’. The voices in her head are screaming “Faster, faster she went down the steps. Run! ” This is dramatic and effective in getting the audience involved so that they also know the thoughts going through Lavinia’s mind. In `The Whole Town’s Sleeping’ the atmosphere is very eerie and isolated. “The little town was deep far away from everything, kept to itself by a river and a forest and a ravine. ” This quote represents fear as the author makes it seem that this deserted area is the perfect place for an event to take place.
The title of the story eflects this idea as the thought of `The Whole Town is Sleeping’ evokes a dreary and fearful emotion. The thought of a whole town sleeping makes the reader feel agitated as to why the town is sleeping. The title `The Red Room’ suggests the colour red is frightening and eerie as it is associated with blood. In addition, red represents danger and alarm which also makes the reader feel scared as to what the story is going to be about. The language the writer uses helps to create tension as suspense can be built up when repeating a sentence.
An example of this is in `The Red Room’ when the man with the withered arm consistently says “It’s your own choosing. ” This is a very effective way in creating tension as the reader feels curious to why he is saying the same thing again and again. `The Whole Town’s Sleeping’ has also used repetition but to create fear. “I am a lonely one. I am a lonely one. I kill people. ” This technique the writer has included adds both fear and tension for the reader as you want to know the relevance to why they were constantly repeating the same sentence.
The author of `The Red Room’ uses the concept of isolation to create ension. The echoes rang up and down the spiral staircase, and a shadow came sweeping up after me. ” This idea of being alone makes the reader feel tense because they are dreading the unthinkable that someone will come out there and then will kill the victim. In fact the reader is tense with an element of fear. This sense of loneliness does not only bring tension to a scene but can also make the reader feel scared. “In the rococo shade of porches, invisible people sat. ” This quote from `The whole Town’s Sleeping’ suggests that sounds can be eerie because of the smallest of things.
In `The Red Room’ a very brace and daring woman decides to take a room in a motel. It is thought that she is brave as she decides to purchase the room which is supposedly haunted. “It will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me. ” It appears that the woman is very interested in meeting this `ghost’. The woman deals with going in the room whilst frightening herself. “With my head bowed and my arms over my face, made a run for the door. ” The woman shows how her confidence is wanting to see the ghost turns to fear. The woman is a prime example of how fear can change the spirit of anyone as it makes people eel intimidated and self conscious.
In `The Whole Town’s Sleeping’ the woman Lavinia is almost as brave as the woman in `The Red Room’. “It’ll be you alone on the path listening to your shoes, not me. ” Lavinia has a different idea about fear; she does not believe all the rumours about the murderer. This is an indicator that she is a strong willed woman who challenges anyone who believes in killers roaming around! “Her heart exploded in her. The sound of its terrified beating filled the universe. ” The only difference between the two women in the stories is that in `The Whole Town’s Sleeping’ the woman actually experiences someone who wants to kill her, which is making her have fear.
Whereas the woman in `The Red Room’ is mentally tormenting herself with fear. In `The Red Room’, the story ends in a very peculiar manner, as the reason to her feeling scared was due to all the rumours she heard and because of his she hurt herself. “And struck myself heavily against the corner of the bed. ” Even though it turns out that the room was actually not haunted, it shows how people can believe anything they want to even if there is no logical explanation behind it.
The Whole Town’s Sleeping’ ends by using tension which is even more frightening as you have no idea whether the woman died or not. “Oh, please, please, give me time to get inside and lock the door and I’ll be safe. ” Both characters experience horrific emotions which in this case do not get the better of them as it is assumed that Lavinia would have died. The woman in `The Red Room’ would have faced mental and psychological damage. After comparing how fear and tension is created by the authors of `The Red Room’ and `The Whole Town’s Sleeping’ it is clear that both tories are successful in creating fear and tension.
However, I believe that `The Whole Town’s Sleeping’ is more effective as it is based on constant climaxes being built up gradually until the story ends. This story creates fear better as the author ends the story in suspense which makes the reader feel even more fearful that is they knew the outcome. The reason for this is because the reader feels tension as they will never know what happened next. The conclusion of the story is left to the readers’ imagination, which can sometimes be more terrifying than a definite ending.