How "The Landlady" by Roald Dahl and the "The Red Room" by H. G. Wells build up mystery and suspense.

Essay by adlou December 2002

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The two short stories that have been studied are "The Red Room" by H. G. Wells written in 1896 and "The Landlady" written by Roald Dahl in 1959.

"The Red Room" is written in first person which creates empathy for the reader and so you can get in the 28 year olds' head. You can only get the man's point of view, you don't get to know any of the old people's views and makes the story more immediate.

In comparison "The Landlady" is written in third person which enables the writer to "mask" certain things to the reader. It lets Dahl "hide" some of the landlady's intentions of killing Weaver. If Dahl had written the book in first person the landlady would reveal her intentions of killing Billy Weaver and the story would be ruined. If Dahl had written the book in first person for Billy Weaver the reader wouldn't know the landlady's purpose of killing him and the story would have and abrupt ending and wouldn't work.

Another significant difference between the two stories is the pace. All through "The Landlady" the pace stays the same throughout the story, it doesn't quicken nor does it reduce speed. However, in the "Red Room" the pace increases on page six of the story. Wells does not use many full stops on the page and the sentences are excessively lengthy which builds up the speed of the story. One of the longest sentences contains many commas to help the pace of the story to keep increasing (crescendo). "With a cry of terror, I dashed at the alcove, then into the corner, and then into the window, relighting three, as two more vanished by the fireplace; then, perceiving a better way, I dropped the matches on the iron-bound deedbox in the corner,