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short stories coursework

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Introduction

English Literature Coursework The two short stories that I have decided to compare are "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe and "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs. Each of these stories has their own individual plot but both are similar because each creates a sense of horror and suspense. They are very well known because horror and suspense stories are still as popular as they were when first written. A short story keeps the readers interest due to the fact that the writer has to squash the same amount of action into less space therefore the build up is shorter and not dragged out as can be in some stories. I have picked these two stories to write about because I enjoyed reading them, they were very exciting, and I could not wait to turn the page to see what was going to happen next. It would appear that the author of "The Monkey's Paw", W.W. Jacobs, got his idea of the Sergeant-Major Morris and the mummified paw from the British soldiers returning from the Far East as well as India, Hong Kong and South Africa. There were many Explorers and Scientists who returned from these countries with exciting news and new information which could explain Jacob's interest in these cultures. ...read more.

Middle

At the end of the story Mr White uses words such as "mutilated" to describe his son. This creates a sense of horror and helps the reader to visualise the monster that almost enters the house. "The Monkey's Paw" is all about a mysterious and magical object which causes havoc in a peaceful home however "The Tell Tale Heart" is about the mad ideas of an insane man. The author of "The Tell Tale Heart", Edgar Allen Poe lived a hard life. He suffered from depression and almost committed suicide. This helps us to understand how he could so easily write a story about a mad man, as if he were that man. He suffered from bad health and had a heart attack which might suggest why he wrote about a beating heart. The setting of this story is in the house of the old man. The time is midnight which everyone relates to being the bewitching hour. The fact that it is so late helps to create horror as it would be pitch black and even harder to see things around you, "to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked upon him while he slept." ...read more.

Conclusion

Both stories seem to have an object of evil. "The Monkey's Paw" has of course the bewitched "little paw, dried to a mummy." "The Tell-Tale Heart" has the "vulture eye". Each helps to create suspense as each seems to bring bad luck to the owner, quite often death. These two stories both create a feeling of despair. We can see that Mrs White is so desperate for her son and the feeling of despair is evident '"It is colder for my son." Said the old woman and wept afresh."' We also see this in "The Tell-Tale Heart" as the old man waits in fear and his heart beats so fast, "The old man's terror must have been extreme!" The difference between these stories is that in The Monkey's Paw the suspense is gradually increased until there is a climax. However in The Tell-Tale heart the suspense is created immediately as we wonder why he is dreadfully nervous. Each of these stories helps to create a sense of horror and suspense, from "The Monkey's Paw", with its twists of fate, to "The Tell-Tale Heart" and its insane murderer. However I prefer The Tell-Tale Heart as it gives us an insight into the mind of a mad man which I believe is scarier. I also believe that it is more genuine as W.W Jacobs went through similar situations himself. ...read more.

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