In "The Demon Lover," Bowen uses the war as a backdrop to the story and this contributes to the gloomy and depressing mood. Mrs Drover's family, for example, have left the house and moved to the country because of the danger posed by the Blitz. In addition, the mysterious letter that she receives evokes repressed memories of World War One. It is against this backdrop of wartime anxiety and chaos, then, that the reader is introduced to Mrs Drover.
Furthermore, Bowen uses foreshadowing to heighten the tense atmosphere of the story. One example comes just after Mrs Drover reads the letter:
Her reluctance to look again at the letter came from the fact that she felt intruded upon.
This foreshadows her meeting with the taxi driver in which she comes face to face with her broken promise. Bowen hints at this meeting again later on:
She heard nothing—but while she was hearing nothing the passé air of the staircase was disturbed.
This instance of foreshadowing not only builds the reader's suspense through its supernatural reference, but also adds to the tense and uncertain atmosphere of the story.
To create the mood and the atmosphere in “The Demon Lover” Bowen uses the setting, which is thee narrator’s abandoned house and later the taxi.
Bowen also uses descriptive language to set the mood. She describes the storm as “ink-dark” clouds piling up giving the street “an unfamiliar queerness.” The house is described as having a “yellow smoke stain…[a] bruise in the wallpaper…[and] cracks in the structure” (Bowen). She describes the eerie feeling that comes over the narrator when she finds the letter addressed to her and when she is the room getting her things.
Bowen then uses the flashback to make the reader understand the narrator’s fear when she opens the letter. The narrator’s superstitions also contribute to the mood.