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How does the writer create tension and suspense in the 'Monkey's Paw'

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How does the writer create tension and suspense in the 'Monkey's Paw' The writer is able to create tension and suspense through various ways. In the opening sentence of the story we are given a brief description of the surrounding area. In gothic stories, they are usually set in a remote and isolated area, as in the 'Monkey's Paw' it is set in a remote village were there is only 2 houses inhabited. 'Without, the night was cold and wet' sets the scene of the story. A gloomy background has been given to set the atmosphere. This weather is similar to the feelings of the main characters. This technique used is called pathetic fallacy, when the weather resembles a persons feeling. From the beginning, we can see that there is unease between the White family, and tension, that is demonstrated through the way Mr White talks to his son. ...read more.


We get the feeling that he has drinking problem or is very violent. This helps increase the level of tension as we have no idea as to how this man will act. Suspense is created when the sergeant is reluctant to tell the Whites about what he has in his hand. 'Leastways nothing worth hearing', creates tension as the reader is keen to know the secret about the Monkey's Paw. Once the sergeant is persuaded into talking about the paw he does not rush into it. He gives out information about the paw and its power very gradually. This creates suspense as we want to know everything about the paw and yet the sergeant is only giving small pieces of the puzzle. 'I don't know what the first two were, but the third was for death', from this quote we can see how the author manages to create tension as we know that eventually people will die due to the wishes that they have made. ...read more.


But once the son and mother leave, the tension rises again as now one of the characters is left alone, with the paw. The final climax of the story happens at the end, when Mr White wishes his son alive again. There is conflict between the two characters which add to the suspense and tension when there is a knock at the door. Mr White does not want to let his son in, while Mrs White wants to open the door. As Mrs White struggles with the latch, the last wish is made by the old man, but we do not hear what the actual wish is. 'The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house', is the point where the tension is at its peak, and the door is open by Mrs White. This tension is then released by a 'loud wail of disappointment' which tells us that the final wish had come true. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

A fair attempt at analysing character, plot and structure of the story to answer the question. Appropriate use of quotation to support points made - although it would benefit from more, and more apt, quotation.
The elements that would move the essay to a four or five star would be analysis of symbolism, sentence structure and the overall message/point/tone of the story, i.e. the warning the author offers the reader.

Three Stars

Marked by teacher Elaine Prentice 17/10/2013

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