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The Monkey's Paw and Red Room Comparison

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The Monkeys Paw and the Red Room are two stories from the gothic genre, where the core idea of stories were to create as much tension and suspense as possible, to keep the reader reading. In fact, the actual event is often seen as irrelevant in these stories and often come as an anti-climax. These two stories use various techniques masterfully to create as much tension and suspense as is possible, and largely they succeed. The Monkey's paw tells of the gift of three wishes given to a family of three, and the Red Room tells a story of a man who braved the legendary red room. Needless to say both stories are often regarded as the epitome of success. A feature which is arguably the most important is used to great effect in these stories to create the right atmosphere, and this is namely, the setting. A strong contrast is established between the internal safe haven, and the rather treacherous external conditions. It is first apparent that the outside is rather cold and dangerous when the 'old man' describes it as a 'bog' referring to how wet and muddy it is. This is contrasted starkly with the indoors, as it is warm with a toasty fire burning, and a calm game of chess being played. The gives the sense of a calm and welcoming environment, but also a silent and pondering atmosphere. This creates suspense and tension by making the reader aware that what is internal is not aware of the external and that there is no knowing what could happen next. This causes the reader to be left in suspense as he wonders what could happen next. The cosy haven that the initial description portrays means that the external torrential environment is seen to be very ominous. This is further emphasised by the fact that the internal people seem to be segregated from the outside as the 'road's a torrent', and this creates the fear, that if something did go wrong, then there would be nowhere to go. ...read more.


But then other fights continue to happen and it is continuously changing the victor. Light is also used to release tensions. After a dark scene, the wintry sun breaks up the otherwise incessant tension using the term 'wintry sun'. Whilst this does portray a nice sun to break up all of the action, it makes sure to use the word wintry, so as to show that the sun is short lived, as during the winter months, the sun shines for shorter periods. This as a result shows why the relief is short but essential, to keep the tension levels as high as possible. Furthermore, the fire also releases tension, because it is a focal point for the family, to go to for some relief, and this relief also emanates to the reader. The fire continues to be something that can be related to, and this fire gives a sense of warmth. Finally, darkness is used quite a lot to show the fears in the final hectic part of the story. It is seemingly pitch black when the old man is desperately rooting around for the paw, but with no luck, as the darkness closes in on him, offering no reprieve for him. This darkness envelopes him and creates extreme tension as the reader is unaware of how events will unfold. The frantic nature of these sentences allows the darkness to play a key role in determining what will happen. The light is almost non-existent and the darkness seems to have triumphed over light in the end, but when the old man finally finds the paw, it is the street lamp, offering quite a bit of light that stands at the forefront of the picture. This causes a fall in tension and suspense is abated. This anti-climax contrasts greatly with what the darkness brings, and it is evident that the light has eventually succeeded. Much like the Monkey's paw, the Red Room uses the contrast between light and dark to much avail, with the darkness portrayed as the evil predator which stalks the narrator. ...read more.


This compares with the tension created by the unanswered two hundred pounds wish in the Monkey's paw, which leaves the reader on tenterhooks, as they wait for what the monkey's paw will do. Furthermore, the repeated warnings give the reader a sense of it being ominous, and that, aside from the warnings, make the reader worried that there must be a reason for this incessant warning. This is a way that tension is created, because the reader feels that the narrator is walking straight into a bad situation. This is coupled with the fact that the narrator is supremely arrogant, by not accepting any facts that come his way. This bodes well with the fact that the Sergeant in the Monkey's paw continuously repeats warnings, which are repeated, but ignored, and the same thing happens, in that fear and a tragic occurrence entwine. This creates tension because the reader begins to worry at what the possible outcome of his arrogance will be. Conclusively, both stories use similar effects to create tension and suspense, and these effects are used with a large degree of effectiveness. However, the Red Room is, in my opinion, the better of the two by an arm's throw. This story uses far more gothic triggers, but integrates them well into the story, whereas in the Monkey's Paw, at some points in the story it appears as if several gothic features are merely cobbled together to give the illusion that it is a gothic story. Furthermore, the setting of the red room itself is described far more vividly, and each corner and crevasse makes itself known through the descriptors used by the writer. In a setting description is fundamental to the overall effectiveness of the setting in the story, and I consider the Red Room to have gained an upper edge in that respect. ?? ?? ?? ?? Coursework How the setting of the Monkey's Paw, and the Due 06 Jan Red Room create tension and suspense Sakib Ahmed 10U ...read more.

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