Narration Techniques Add Interest in Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland

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Narration Techniques Add Interest in Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland

In today's popular horror movies, one common element is that the audience always knows what is going to happen. The main character, of course, is clueless. The girl always runs up the stairs when she should be running out the door or into the woods when she should be running to an open area. I am usually forced to yell in exasperation at the TV screen, always hoping that the girl will hear me. Somehow, she never does. Even though the audience can see the masked man standing around the corner, the blond actress running in high heels is oblivious. These are the movies that I can watch without being scared. The real terror comes whenever I am placed in the
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The voices become terrifying to the reader only when they begin to affect Clara personally. As Clara is trying to sleep one night, she is disturbed "by a whisper, which, at first, appeared to proceed from lips that were laid close to [her] ear" (64). Since there is no omniscient narrator to explain where these voices are coming from, the reader is left to rationalize the possible explanations along with Clara. The reader follows along with the processes of Clara's mind - maybe "it was uttered by the girl who lived with me as a servant," all the doors are "closed and bolted at nights," maybe "my imagination had transformed some casual noise into the voice of a human creature" (64-65). Just as Clara has convinced herself that there is no one in the closet, and consequently assured the reader of the same, she hears a second noise. Now Clara listens quietly as the voices in her closet discuss her murder. With "fear adding wings to [her] speed," Clara runs to her brother's home. For a reader who has made a connection with the story, and especially with the narrator, this scene would probably cause personal terror. From my own experience in reading this story, I noticed that as Clara's mind began working faster and she began running, I began reading faster. In

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