The Main Causes Of Suspense In A Short Story

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Suspense is a vital part of keeping readers on the edge of their seats, yearning to know what will happen next. Suspense isn't created easily, however. Anyone could write a story with a simple problem and resolution, but if one were to utilize the use of suspense, literary devices such as setting, irony and point of view are essential to accomplish this. Correspondingly, in the short stories written by Lucille Fletcher and Edgar Allen Poe titled, ¨Sorry, Wrong Number,¨ and ¨The Tell-Tale Heart,¨ these literary devices are used and successfully achieved the goal of making these suspenseful short stories live up to their name.

Although most will think that a conflict is the main cause of suspense in a short story, setting can play a strong part in suspense as well. Setting is where and when a story takes place, and in the short stories, “Sorry, Wrong Number,” and, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, setting makes these suspense stories truly suspense stories. To prove this, in “Sorry, Wrong Number”, a quote states,”I don't see how it could be busy all this time. It's my husband's office. He's working late tonight, and I'm all alone here in my house. My health is very poor and I've been feeling nervous all day.”This quote further proves that setting plays a major part in suspense because of where Mrs. S is. She's all alone in her house, and she has poor health as well as being an invalid, she is completely helpless if someone were to come kill her. Furthermore, in, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a quote states,”And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opening it, oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head...It took me an hour to place my entire head so far within the opening where I could see him in the room.”Similar to “Sorry, Wrong Number,” the setting also takes place in an enclosed room, this time in a dark setting. The setting being a dark room immensely adds to the suspense of the story. When it is dark, you never know what you truly see, which makes the old man truly fearful as he doesn't know if there's someone there or not, and this definitely adds to the suspense
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