Tension and suspense are key elements in W.W. Jacobs’ The Monkey’s Paw. The story, which is only a few pages long, is full of twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Even though the reader knows that the monkey’s paw is cursed, they can’t help but hope that Mr. White will be able to use it to his advantage.
The tension in the story comes from the fact that the monkey’s paw is a symbol of death. It is clear from the beginning that anyone who uses it will come to a bad end. This knowledge creates a sense of unease in the reader, which only increases as the story goes on.
The suspense arises from the fact that the reader doesn’t know what is going to happen next. The monkey’s paw seems to have a mind of its own, and it is not clear how it will affect those who use it. This suspense builds until the very end, when all is revealed.
Jacobs cleverly uses tension and suspense to create a truly gripping story. The Monkey’s Paw is a classic tale of horror that has been thrilling readers for generations.
In ‘The Monkey’s Paw,’ there are several approaches to build tension and suspense. We can see that the language employed at the start of the tale establishes the scene and conveys the tone of the narrative; “the night was cold and wet.” The pathetic fallacy, which implies that the plot will be based on evil, immediately raises tension by piquing interest in the reader.
The opening sentence also uses words such as “gloom” and “despair”, which not only add to the dismal atmosphere, but make us feel as if something bad is going to happen. The mood of the story is further enhanced by the description of the monkey’s paw; it is described as being “mottled with age” and having a “shrivelled appearance”. The fact that it is mottled suggests that it has been involved in many dark deeds and the shrivelled appearance makes it look evil. These descriptions make us feel as if we should be wary of the paw.
The first real suspense in the story comes when Mr. White reads out the instructions that are written on the parchment. The fact that he has to read them aloud creates suspense as we are not sure what they are going to say. The instructions say that the paw will grant three wishes, but for each wish that is granted, someone will die. This immediately creates suspense as we wonder what the consequences of using the paw will be. Mr. White’s initial reaction to the instructions also adds to the suspense; he says that he does not want the paw, which makes us think that he knows something that we don’t.
The suspense is increased when Sergeant-Major Morris arrives and starts telling them about the monkey’s paw. He describes how it was used by a fakir to punish people and how it has been passed down through generations. The fact that it has been used to harm people makes us wonder what will happen if it is used to grant wishes. The sergeant-major’s story also creates suspense as we wonder what happened to the people who used the paw.
The suspense is further increased when Mr. White decides to make a wish. We are not sure what he is going to wish for, but we know that it will have serious consequences. The suspense is then ratcheted up even more when Mr. White wishes for his son to come back from the dead. We are not sure what is going to happen, but we know that it won’t be good.
The way that the language is employed helps to build tension and suspense in the tale. There are a lot of words that create tension on their own, such as “deathly”, “beastly”. All of these words stay true to the Gothic style, which depicts characters in a negative light while also detailing objects negatively.
The use of the words “the knocker”, “the chain” and “the hand” also create suspense as we are unsure what is going to happen. The sound of the footsteps creates a sense of unease as well. The fact that everything is written in short sentences also adds to the feeling of suspense as there is no time to take a breath before something else happens. The story is also set at night which makes it spooky and gives the reader a feeling of unease.
The Monkey’s Paw is a classic example of how to create tension and suspense in a story. The author, W.W. Jacobs, uses a variety of techniques to keep the reader on edge throughout the entire tale. From ominous descriptions to fast-paced dialogue, every element of the story contributes to an overall feeling of suspense. The next time you’re looking to create a spine-tingling tale, remember the Monkey’s Paw and its masterful use of suspense.
The use of dialogue in this story creates tension and increases the pace. In addition, the simile used helps readers visualize what Mr. White experienced. Also, punctuation helps create suspense for example, by italicizing text to show that a character is shocked and speaking loudly. These features hooks readers and make them want to find out what happens next.
The tension and suspense are heightened by the story’s being told in a narrative style. Because the tale is written in the third person, the reader is more removed from it emotionally. This is in stark contrast to The Red Room, which is written in first person. It’s much more emotive if you write your story in first person because it appears as though you’re looking through someone else’s eyes and feeling what they feel.
The third person perspective in The Monkey’s Paw however, allows the reader to be more objective and creates a sense of suspense as to what will happen next.
The story is also set up in a way that creates tension and suspense. It is written in short, sharp paragraphs that create a fast pace. The use of cliffhangers at the end of each section also adds to the sense of suspense, making the reader want to continue reading to find out what happens next. The setting is also quite eerie, with the dark and stormy night adding to the feeling of unease. All of these factors combine to create a tense and suspenseful story that is hard to put down.