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Monkeys Paw

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With close reference to the story's language, structure and content, explain how successful you think Jacobs is in creating an atmosphere of suspense, drama and terror in 'The Monkey's Paw'? Intro: The Monkeys Paw, written by W.W. Jacobs in 1902, is a typical example of late Victorian storytelling. At the time it was written, horror was a popular genre, and could be mass produced thanks to the new found 'printing press'. H.G. Wells, who wrote in a similar style to Jacobs, also made short stories popular, as did the change in socio-economic factors. Another reason these short stories were so popular was because the standards of reading and education had been greatly improved since the mid 1800s, so that by the late 1800s and early 1900s, reading material was in great demand. Thanks to the printing press, these stories were also cheap and quick to produce, often in magazines. They were also cheap for the public to buy, as an alternative to a novel by Charles Dickens or another writer of that time. ...read more.


"Father and son were at chess; the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical changes, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils..." This quote tells the reader that the father is open to taking risks, which becomes more evident later on in the story. This is also a calm opening to the story, however the story does not remain calm... "...This visitor from distant parts...spoke of wild scenes...and strange peoples." "Well, it's a bit of what you might call magic..." This is referring to the Sergeant Major that comes to visit, telling tales of mysterious lands, and then pulls out the even more mysterious monkeys paw. " 'I wish for two hundred pounds,' said the old man distinctly. A fine crash from the piano greeted the words, interrupted by a shuddering cry from the old man. His wife ran towards him. 'It moved, ' he cried, with a glance of disgust at the object..." ...read more.


Another adding of mystery and tension comes with the symbolism of the number 3, as there are 3 chapters, 3 members of the White family, 3 wishes and the stranger stops 3 times before entering the White house to deliver the bad news. The fathers final wish is not really said to the reader, and Jacobs leaves it to the readers own imagination to think what the wish was. But it is clear that whatever it was, it stopped the advance of whatever was at the door of the White house. Conclusion: With close reference to the story's language, structure and content, it is clear that Jacobs creates an atmosphere of suspense, drama and terror in 'The Monkey's Paw, I think that Jacobs has been very successful in creating a horror story, using suspense drama and terror, however due to today's film culture and the ability to travel, people today would not be as scared by this as people would have been when this was written in 1902. ...read more.

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