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Is the Monkey's Paw an Effective Horror Story?

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Introduction

IS THE MONKEY'S PAW AN EFFECTIVE HORROR STORY? To create a successful horror story, the author needs to create a sense of tension and suspense. This is done through using emotive language and creating a series of horrific events. Most importantly, the story needs to have atmosphere. There are a number of elements the author uses to try and create this. However, the author also makes poor decisions, which (in my opinion) spoil the atmosphere of the story. Firstly, the author spends very little time on describing the setting and the characters, and chooses to spend more time on describing the Monkey's Paw. I believe this is a good idea, because it not only makes the situation seem more mystical, through lack of information for the reader to make a mental picture, But also creates a sense of mystery and not knowing where or to whom this is happening, makes the reader seem frightened. Also, the lack of information makes the White family seem more like everyday people, and therefore realistic, which creates the thought that this could happen to anyone. It also gives the author the ability to describe the paw in enough detail, so that it becomes as horrific as possible. The setting is described as being cold, wet, and windy, this being a very common setting for a horror story. ...read more.

Middle

Wish to be an Emperor, father. To begin with; then you can't be henpecked' and when discussing Mr White's wish for money, Herbert White again mocks the Monkey's Paw by saying 'Might drop on his head from the sky.' The author makes Mrs White and her son seem as close as possible, so the pain of losing him is bitterer and the awful situation that has occurred is even more realistic. 'Mr White looked up sharply, just in time to intercept a knowing glance between mother and son'. The author has been very successful in creating an innocent image of the White family. This is effective because it gives the reader the ability to relate to the family better, and consequently, the future situations of the White family are more horrific and shocking, due to the fact that the reader feels closer to them. Another method the author uses to give the reader a slight idea of what may happen later on in the story, are comments made by Sergeant-Major Morris. Firstly, he says 'It had a spell put on it by an old fakir, he wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives'. This is true to what happens to the White family. 'The first man had his three wishes. Yes, I don't know what the first two were, but the third was for death.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Mr White is also afraid of his son, at first not even believing the Monkey's Paw has the ability to defy nature and bring him back, saying 'Good God, you are mad' when his wife suggested trying to resurrect him. He then decides that the corpse is real, but not human, he refers to his son as 'it'. 'For God's sake don't let it in'. With his final wish, the knocking on the door stops, leaving the implication that he wished his son dead again, just like the first person who possessed the paw. The change in terminology also changes, referring to the Monkey's Paw as 'The unwholesome thing.' The atmosphere is built up very well while this happens, using classic horror imageries. 'The candle-end, which had burned below the rim of the china candlestick, was throwing pulsating shadows on the ceiling and walls, until, with a flicker larger than the rest, it expired.' The Monkey's paw is a very good horror story. It uses original horror elements, to create horror. The author is very good in creating tension and atmosphere. The only bad point I can make about the story is I believe the use of comic relief has no place in a story that relies mainly on suspense. By comic relief, I mean the mocking of the classic horror story. 'A fine crash from the piano greeted the words.' Apart from this though, I believe The Monkey's Paw is a successful horror story. Daniel Booth ...read more.

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