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How Does the Author Create an Atmosphere of Mystery and Suspense in "The Monkey's Paw"?

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How Does the Author Create an Atmosphere of Mystery and Suspense in "The Monkey's Paw"? In the tale of The Monkey's Paw, a very distinct atmosphere of mystery and suspense is created; W.W.Jacobs creates this atmosphere in many ways. One way in which it is created is beginning the story with a familiar, very normal family scene; "Father and son were at chess." This makes the tale more horrifying, as it creates a realistic scene, showing that the following events could happen to anyone. The author uses a clever method of foreshadowing throughout the opening paragraphs, about what may happen throughout the story. For example; the author writes that when the father and son were playing chess the father "possessed ideas about the game having radical changes." ...read more.


The entrance of Sergeant Major Morris into the story brings a new breath of life in, as it seems unusual that someone of such high status is visiting an "out-of-the-way" isolated house. A certain sense of suspense is created here; as the reader wonders what the Sergeant Major is doing and what he has to say. He then tells the family all about India, and how he obtained the Monkey's Paw. When Sergeant Major goes on to add that it is "magic" and atmosphere of mystery seems almost overwhelming. "The Monkey's Paw looks ordinary to the eye..." The Sergeant-Major tells the family, which shows that it has hidden powers and that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that cursed one and a normal one. ...read more.


Another method of foreshadowing is used when Herbert is talking to his father about the �200 that his father wished for. Herbert says: "Well I don't see the money... And I bet I never shall!" Which, of course, is true as the money is only obtained on account of the death of Herbert. However the readers don't know at that stage of the story, and it's only after the second read of the tale that it is noticed how cleverly the foreshadowing is used. By using foreshadowing the author is dropping subtle hints on the results of what happens which creates suspense, as the readers find themselves eager to read on and find out what happens in order for Herbert to never "see the money." ...read more.

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