Suspense In Lord Of The Flies

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Since the beginning of mankind, fear has been a driving force in how humans adjusted to their surroundings. But when manipulated correctly, fear itself can be modified to make a person act in a variety of ways. One of the most common forms of manipulating fear is by building suspense. When implemented into writing, suspense can be used to grip a reader no matter what the topic or time period of the story may be. Suspense can illicit many different emotions from a reader, adapting over time to suit society’s interests and fears. This adaptation can be noted when looking at various stories of the horror genre, from Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tale of The Cask of Amontillado, to more modern examples such as William Goulding’s Lord of the Flies.…show more content…
Poe and Goulding both use this to their advantage in their stories. In The Cask of Amontillado, the whole story focuses on Fortunato being unknowingly lead into a deathtrap. The suspense comes in with the author’s use of dramatic irony; namely, while Fortunato thinks Montresor only wants what’s best for him, the reader knows from the beginning that it’s all a farce. Similarly, Lord of the Flies relies extensively on emphasizing the boys’ fears - all of which are the result of the island being unfamiliar, and them not knowing how to handle it. Both stories tap into the reader’s own dread of uncertainty, which is exposed by that of the characters. In either of the stories, a reader can easily place themselves into the victims’ shoes and find that they would react similarly, which can be horrifying in its own right. That, combined with the fright they are already feeling due to the tension of the story, effectively keeps a reader on the edge of their seat. Thus, the story has accomplished exactly what it was intended to by the author. However, Poe and Goulding clearly played upon the instinctual fear of the unknown in their own individual ways. And this was not the only way in which their approaches to the genre…show more content…
The Cask of Amontillado focuses on the strange, bizarre, and unusual, as is the case with most of Poe’s other works. The events which take place in the story are startlingly similar to something that could happen in the everyday life of someone in his time, yet taken to the utmost extreme. Lord of the Flies shows a forced deviation from living in comfortable society, which is especially highlighted due to the fact that the characters are all upper-class, white British boys. They suffer a disconnection from the world, which in turn leads to their eventual downfall due to what is portrayed as their mere human nature. These storylines reflect how the times in which they were written held differing fears. In a time where many seriously believed in superstitions such as fairies and alchemy, Poe used his stories to take the exact opposite - normal, everyday life - and make it scary. Much of what is common knowledge in the present day had not yet been discovered in the early 1800s. As a result, almost anything unusual was horrifying. With this knowledge, Poe was able to write Cask of Amontillado in such a way that exploited abject trepidation. Lord of the Flies was written nearly 150 years later, and the storytelling shows it. By then, the first world demographic the book was targeted for had
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