The Red Room
by H.G. Wells
The Red Room Good vs. Evil Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Paragraph)
[…] I stood with the candle held aloft, surveying the scene of my vigil, the great red room of Lorraine Castle, in which the young duke had died. Or, rather, in which he had begun his dying, for he had opened the door and fallen headlong down the steps I had just ascended. That had been the end of his vigil, of his gallant attempt to conquer the ghostly tradition of the place. (31)
This passage makes the young duke out as something of a hero: he’s "gallant." He was trying to fight against darkness, superstition, and the "ghostly tradition" of the castle. In other words, he was trying to be the good guy and do battle with the forces of darkness. But he died. Whatever it is that’s in the red room remains.
My candle was a little tongue of light in its vastness, that failed to pierce the opposite end of the room, and left an ocean of mystery and suggestion beyond its island of light. (31)
This is the most suggestive piece of light/darkness imagery in the story. It conveys the sense that the darkness is something overwhelming, and the light just a small blip in the midst of it. It’s literal in this case, but there’s definitely something symbolic about it too. The narrator, with his candle, is the bearer of light in the midst of an enormous darkness. Feels rather threatening.
The shadow in the alcove at the end in particular, had that undefinable quality of a presence, that odd suggestion of a lurking, living thing, that comes so easily in silence and solitude. At last, to reassure myself, I walked with a candle into it, and satisfied myself that there was nothing tangible there. I stood that candle upon the floor of the alcove, and left it in that position. (33)
The darkness in the red room threatens the narrator and feels alive. It "lurks." He tries to fight it off by combating it with light, in the form of the candle. At this point, the literal struggle between light and dark in the red room begins (and with it, the more suggestive struggle between the narrator and some "dark power").