Tension and Fear Throughout "The Monkey's Paw"

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How does the author create fear and tension in the story?

. Brief summary of the plot (not more than one paragraph)

. Look at each part of the story explaining how tension and

fear is created. Think about language, climax/anticlimax,

gothic features, setting and use of sense.

. Conclude by giving your thoughts and feelings about the

story and how successful you think it was as a gothic tale.

The monkey’s paw is a gothic tale. The tale is about a family of three named the Whites. When the Whites are given a magical monkey’s paw by an old family friend – Sergeant Major Morris - they also inherit three wishes. Herbert, the descendant of the family takes the paw for granted and had no certainty in the paw. That day they make their first wish for two hundred pounds, nothing happens. That night, after the old couple had departed to bed, Herbert sees a simian-like face in the fire. The following day, Herbert, goes to Maw and Meggins, where he works. In the meantime a worker from the Maw and Meggins cotton mill comes to visit Herbert’s parents and delivers devastating news. He claims that Herbert had been crushed by machinery whilst working which led to his death, but they were entitled to compensation of two hundred pounds. The couple are absorbed by grief and after the funeral Mrs White suggests that they use the monkey’s paw to wish Herbert back to life. Mr White is very hesitant to do this, but after a lot of persuasion and fuss from his wife he agrees to the idea. After making the wish the couple retire to bed. When the candles burn out, and Mr White goes to retrieve more there are loud knocks at the door. Mrs White runs to the door, and after a few struggling minutes, manages to get the door open. A loud...

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...s an idea in your head that maybe someone will disown another in the tale.

Climax and anticlimax is something else the writer uses to create fear and suspense. The first anticlimax in the tale is when Herbert has just left for work and the post arrives. Mrs White rushes to the door “All of which did not prevent her from scurrying to the door at the postman’s knock.” This prepares you for a climax as the writer creates the idea that the money they wished for is going to be in the post, but you are disappointed, “When she found out that the post brought a tailors bill.” This is a good technique as the writer keeps you in suspense but then disappoints you.

During part three the writer uses descriptions of senses “Sounds of her sobs” and “Lay silently.” The use of the senses makes the story feel more alive as its describing the way you feel, see and hear things.

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