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Using the story "Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs how the author creates fear and tension.

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Introduction

Using the story "Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs how the author creates fear and tension. "Monkey's Paw" is a factual horror story with a lot of heightened action and emotion, which deals with mystery and death. The only thing that is seen is the drama within the house; this gives more tension and fear because you limits are you imagination. It is a short story therefore all the information has to be condensed as much as possible. The story was written during the nineteenth century, it is approximately 150 years old. It is about a monkey's paw that grants three wishes. In the story a family ask for their wishes however with each wish there were also consequences. From reading the first paragraph, there is a clear contrast in the way the outside and inside conditions are described. "Without, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly." The conditions of the outside area are reminiscent of horror settings; it was night, cold and wet. The characters in the story however, are indoors with the blinds drawn (as if to separate the house from the outdoors) and the fire burning. This creates a cosy and calm mood at first since the reader thinks that the characters are in no danger although some readers may be wary of possible sinister happenings due to the 'horror story' style description of the outside land. It is when the old soldier first enters the story that you realise that this will be a story based on the feelings of suspense and fear. ...read more.

Middle

The tone was now hopeful and the pace frantic. When Mrs. White first thinks of the idea that she hopes will bring her son back to life, she cries out; "The paw!" But her husband, having already seen his son's state after he had died, was afraid that the paw would bring Herbert back to life in the shreds that he was left in after the accident. This made him very negative towards his wife's plan. This contradiction carried on for enough time to make lots of tension; "go and get it and wish," cried his wife, quivering with excitement. The old man turned and regarded her, and his voice shook. "He has been dead ten days, and besides- I would not tell you else, but- I could only recognise him by his clothing. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now?" If you look at the quotes taken above, you can see that Mrs. White was quivering in excitement while Mr. White's voice shook, I presume that this was from fear. The contradiction in their attitude is very dramatic and the tension lifts enormously while they continue to argue. Mr. White's fear actually helps scare the audience especially since his wife is wining the argument and this means that the reader can imagine Herbert rise from his grave in unrecognisable physical form. As the argument continues, I think the reader may start to be afraid of Mrs. White because her husband does and this can pass on to the readers; 'even his wife's face seemed changed as he entered the room. It was white and expectant and seemed to have an unnatural look upon it. He was afraid of her.' ...read more.

Conclusion

By now though, the reader will have worked out what this messenger has to say. By putting all the clues together you can guess that something has happened to Herbert at work. When the messenger beaks the news, I was not surprised or shocked, in fact I believe that it decreased atmosphere given but then the author went in to detail of Mr and Mrs White's reaction, increasing the fear and tension once more. Then the messenger gives them the statement "I beg that you understand that I am only their servant and merely obeying orders". When I read this I thought to myself "Oh! He is going to say it! That's wrong!" He says "I was to say that Maw and Meggins disclaim all responsibility." " They admit no liability, but in consideration of your son's services they wish to present you with a sum of compensation" up until this point everything is expected but when you hear "sum of ..." you begin to think as you read on but you set it aside until Mr White says "How much?" and just before you read it you know the answer "Two Hundred Pounds" you STOP! You fall back in disbelief. You awake in shock, you pause. You just think "WOW" In my eyes a beautifully constructed scene, it left me wanting more so I read on. The book uses suspense to keep interest of the reader, to leave him/her guessing of the possible outcome. I would recommend this short story to anyone. It is one of the best short pieces I have read. My sincere appreciation to W. W Jacobs for writing this well written and compelling short story, it is a very well told story. ...read more.

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