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At the beginning of The whole town’s sleeping, you are introduced to a very peaceful, tranquil, average American town. It is as though nothing out of the ordinary has ever really happened here.
It was a warm summer night in the middle of Illinois country.
Whereas in The Red Room, the opening is set in an old dismal castle with three odd contradicting servants.
This story instantly starts off creepy while in the whole town’s sleeping, it doesn’t.
The old woman sat staring hard into the fire, her pale eyes wide open.
The whole town’s sleeping is set in an average town in 1950’s USA. It is set mainly outdoors with some indoor sections.
The Red Room is set in a dank old castle in 19th century England.
There are no real similarities in setting.
The theme of both stories is straight and simply fear. The authors of the stories wanted to frighten you either by death or ghosts but with the same effect. The two stories are similar in the fact that they build up to a climax, and then end rapidly.
The main character in the whole towns sleeping is called Lavinia. She ‘seems’ fearless, but this is not always the case, as she can become frightened. However, most of the time she would try to hide her fear, or just say something, which makes her look brave.
She was saying this when her gullible friend was talking about the ‘lonely one’, trying to sound fearless, but I expect that she was probably dubious, and she just didn’t want to show it.
In the Red room, the main character is a 28-year-old man who is very sceptical about many things.
‘Eight-and-twenty years I have lived and never a ghost have I seen as yet.’
His name is never given, and I feel that this is just to make the story more frightening. If his name is given, it becomes more personal and therefore friendly, which is not frightening.
This character doesn’t believe in the unnatural, or many things like that. He believes that if he can touch it, it is real. He is also a bit arrogant and fearless much alike to Lavinia in the whole town’s sleeping.
I do not like either character much as they are both egotistical and this is not a very friendly feature. I feel that they should both be more open-minded. But then the stories would be less scary if the characters were instantly scary. I do not like people who have this characteristic, so I do not like the characters. However, I find them both very realistic, which shows the talents of the authors off well.
HG Wells’ language is quite old fashioned. I.e., he says, ‘eight-and-twenty,’ rather than twenty-eight as we would say nowadays. He uses very vivid description, which sometimes becomes so much as to sway you away from what is actually happening in the main story line. There are little similes and metaphors in this story.
He uses some direct speech at the very beginning and at the very end, but hardly during the main story section in the middle. It is more: I saw this, I touch this and so on.
It is told in the first person and this is better so you can see exactly what he is seeing and thinking in an easier and clearer way.
Ray Bradbury’s style is completely different to HG Wells in the fact that it is up to date language and also in the American style. There are quite a lot of similes and metaphors such as
Cool as mint ice cream…
And quite a lot of personification such as:
heat was breathing.
There is a lot of direct speech which I personally prefer as I find it easier to follow.
This story is in the third person and I find that this one is better in third as you can see exactly what they are thinking rather than what one person thinks they are thinking.
HG Wells creates suspense by having the candles blow out a lot in the Red Room. The suspense is not particularly good as you are unaware of what will happen if he does get entrapped in the darkness, but then this makes you wonder about what will happen more so. It begins when 1 candle innocently blows out. It ends when the man knocks himself out.
Ray Bradbury created suspense by having a long section when Lavinia feels that she is being followed. In this part, Lavinia is counting which adds greatly to the suspense. You are saying to yourself, she’s only got 12 to go, 11, 10 and you get immersed into the story. I feel that this suspense section was much more successful than that of the Red Room.
In the Red Room, the ending is far too abrupt and there is now imagination. You are told what had happened rather than wondering what will happen. There is almost no imagination here. It would have probably been better to end off with the man fainting and not have the explanation paragraph.
In the whole town’s sleeping however, the ending is much better, just when you think that all is well and safe, I turns out that is isn’t and you are left wondering what will happen to her. (Which is almost certainly death!)
I much preferred the whole town’s sleeping because of its more modern language; better characters that are easier to relate to; the use of more similes, metaphors and personification; more direct speech; the more exciting suspense section; and the unexpected twist at the end.
I fell that the whole image of fear was more greatly achieved in the whole towns sleeping because of the fact that the women all know what are they are to be scared of. And the fact that it was set in a small, innocent town to which you wouldn’t think there would be anything like this happening is also more exciting.