Suspense In Literature

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Huang (2003) discusses types of suspense in literature from the aspects of location, theme relativity, and different answers of suspense. Nie (2004) discusses types of suspense in films from different manipulation of information and preconception of certain images. Mi (2006) discusses types of suspense in film according to the different period of its formation.

Cai (2007) discusses the suspense types in TV documentary from the aspects of function in narration structure and discusses the creation of suspense form image, narrative voice and sound effect.

The majority of researches are done relating to creation of suspense in both literature and movie. Huang (2004) discusses creation of suspense in literature from the aspect of ambiguity of
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By putting forward questions and delaying answers, suspense arouses curiosity, anxiety, and horror among readers or audience.

Types of Suspense

According to whether or not audience and characters acquire basic information of events, suspense can be divided into following types:

Detective-Suspense: either spectator or character knows.
Thriller-Suspense: only spectator knows.
“Secret”-Suspense: only character knows.

Mechanism of Suspense

The creation of suspense is due to the violation of maxims on character-to-character level or narrator-to-reader level.

3.1.1.1 The Co-operative Principle

The co-operative principles are certain rules which a successful verbal communication must adhere to. And it consists of four maxims:

Maxim of Quantity

Speakers are required to provide the sufficient amount of information, and not provide more information than is necessary.

Maxim of Quality

Speakers are required to provide true information and should avoid saying what they believe is false or to assert when they are lack of adequate evidence.

Maxim of Relation

Speakers should make relevant
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The maxims in character-level interaction and implicatures are similar to the maxims applied in real-life conversation. The difference is readers could reach better implicatures than characters, since readers could have more information.

As for the maxim of quantity on narrator-to-reader level, it is hard to determine which level of information should be considered as sufficient. Yet readers are disposed to think all the details are relevant and tend to interpret them in a meaningful way. And the repetitive narration of a same incident may suggest the narrator share the same interpretation with a character, which makes this interpretation more convincible.

The maxim of quality applies to both characters and narrators in literature discourse. Sometimes different interpretation could occur due to the different amount of information accessed by characters and narrators. And an omniscient narrator could provide better
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