The title "The Red Room" immediately attracts the reader's attention; it is symbolic but leaves unanswered questions. "What is the red room?" "Why is it red?" We associate red with fear and danger. Is this room dangerous? Overall, the title raises so much curiosity that it has an overwhelming effect, wanting us to read on and find answers to our questions.
The short story writer has to attract the reader and keep their attention throughout. In order for any story to work, tension has to be built in the text, to keep it interesting. In a novel, the writer has to structure and create tension building it up and letting it drop and picking it up again. Too much fast-paced action in a film kills the essence of it and for the viewer, it can become almost funny to watch. For a short story, however, it is able to build tension and sustain it without completely dropping down to the original level. The best way of building tension is to increase the tension then drop down slightly but not as low as at the outset. In adding more drama, little by little, the story gains tension but the reader is also reminded of the excitement as he is released from the drama from time to time.
In a short story, the reader will be able to have a strong influence from the writer's first and last lines. This makes them very important and are well thought out. This is the first line:.
"'I can assure you,' said I, 'that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me.'".
From this first line, the reader can assume two pieces of information. Firstly that this story involves a ghost, and secondly that the character is an educated and well-read man.
This peak of interest increases the tension and stops the reader from putting the book down. Also, as it is a short story it gets straight to the point.
The story in the first page introduces four characters. A young man, an old man and his wife, and another old man. We never know their names.