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How are susupense and tension created in the Monkey's Paw and the Tell Tale Heart

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Introduction

How are suspense and tension created in The Monkey's Paw and the Tell Tale Heart? Throughout the Monkey's Paw and the Tell Tale Heart, W.W Jacobs and E.A Poe use various methods to portray suspense and tension. Suspense and tension were vital to both these stories as they were written in the gothic, a genre which was becoming increasingly popular in the 18th century, and as such suspense and tension were essential in creating an ominous atmosphere. The story of the Monkey's Paw begins with the use of pathetic fallacy; "the night was cold and wet", which is soon backed up a description of the setting, "of all the beastly, slushy, out-of-the-way places to live in, this is the worst." ...read more.

Middle

Suspense is also created in the Tell Tale Heart by repetitive images and sounds, "a low, dull, quick sound - much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton." Poe mentions a watch four times in the story; it is an allusion to the old man's heart. Each tick of the clock represents the time closing in on the old man. Poe portrays this in the second mention of the watch, "He was still sitting up in the bed listening; - just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall". Death watches are a type of beetle which live in damp walls and bang their head against the walls. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another way in which tension and suspense are created in the monkey's paw and the Tell Tale Heart is through withholding information. In the Monkey's Paw Sergeant Major Morris reveals very little information, and keeps the Whites asking questions, "'I have,' he said quietly... 'And did you really have the three wishes granted?'... 'I did.'" His short answers keep the Whites and the reader puzzled and wanting to know more. Poe also withholds information to create tension and suspense, for instance he doesn't say much about who the characters are or where the story is set, keeping the reader wanting to find out more. The gothic and horror genres were becoming increasingly popular by the nineteenth century; The Monkey's Paw and The Tell Tale Heart are classics in these genres. Both stories use various different techniques to effectively portray suspense and tension to create the gothic/horror themes. ...read more.

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