“The Tape” Rhetoric Commentary

The selected passage is Stacy’s character response in Scene two of The Tape. In the previous scene, Stacy’s children went to bed after watching the trending horror film, The Fatal Cleansing. The storm also broke a window, which Stacy began fixing. In the response, Stacy digresses from the broken window to fix the power supply of the house, for she decides that it would be easier to fix the window with a working light. Looking for the fuse box along the dark walls, she experiences strange sensations that resemble loss of control over her body. The scene ends with Stacy’s hearing a mysterious shuffling noise from the closet, and her reaching to open the closet. The passage demonstrates the use of diction, and dramatic irony to create a suspenseful, eerie mood.

The authors use diction that conveys the hesitation and fear, which are intensified when senses are enhanced in the dark. “I drag my hands across the buttons lining the walls” (4EverGreen. et al, Scene 2) The authors use the word “drag” to create tension, as Stacy blindly descends to the basement. Due to the diction, the pace of the scene is also slowed down, which creates an unsettling silence, creating the growing suspense. This discomfort continues to grow as Stacy: “begin(s) to feel a weird sensation, almost like an electrical current, flow through my (her) body…” (4EverGreen. Et al, Scene 2) These sensations border the supernatural, which is further bolstered when Stacy: “hear(s) a loud ringing sound in my (her) ears, and feel(s) a presence in the basement although the room is pitch black” (4EverGreen. Et al, Scene 2) Here, the authors intend to suggest multiple symptoms of possession. Even for readers who don’t recognize them, these symptoms create anxiety for the mysterious fear that can now effect Stacy’s body, and the various dangers it unlocks.

The authors also utilize dramatic irony to create the eerie mood of the scene. “Maybe I just need some rest,” I think to myself. I start feeling for the doorknob and crawling slowly to check up on the children before I go to sleep.” (4EverGreen. et al, Scene 2) Here, Stacy dismisses the ominous feelings, when the audience knows that they’re not as simple as symptoms of fatigue, creating the classic dramatic irony used in many horror films- the naiveté of the characters driving them towards obvious dangers. “My shaky hands latch onto the closet handle and steadily open the door.” (4EverGreen. et al, Scene 2) Here, when Stacy hears the strange shuffling noise from the closet, her slowly opening the closet further stalls the scene, and draws upon the audience’s preexisting impression of the genre, creating fear for the uncertainty, for it indicates the imminent “jump scare”. The fact that the scene ends before revealing the source of the sound creates a cliffhanger effect, which draws on the audience’s innate fear for the uncertain, and forces them to read on.

               4EverGreen, P1xie_Stranger, sophieahn, showersensation. “The Tape”. Storium. Scene 2. https://storium.com/game/group-4–2/act-1/scene-2.