Comparing The Monkey's Paw and The Signalman

Comparing The Monkey's Paw and The Signalman

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Comparing The Monkey's Paw and The Signalman

In these two short stories both authors write gothic tale stories.
Both authors use gothic tale features e.g they use darkness, isolation
and use of senses. Both authors’ u similar methods to create tension
e.g. they both use repetition and short sentences. They both use their
senses e.g. in the monkeys paw they use their sense of hearing and
feeling, for example they hear the door knocking and use a lot of
sight through Mr.White cant see where the monkeys paw is and he use
his sense of feeling to try and find it on the floor. In the signalman
they use a lot of feeling, for example

“It was made of a clammy stone, that became oozier and wetter as I
went down.”

In “The monkeys paw” W.W.Jacobs creates tension several times e.g.
when the sergeant-major says

“Hold it up in your right hand and wish aloud” then says

“But I warn you of the consequences,” and then Mr.White wishes
straight after. He makes a lot of tension when the man is walking back
and forth outside of Mr.White’ gate, and then when he finally comes to
the door he starts to use short sentences and a lot of question asking

“Is anything the matter? She asked breathlessly. Has anything happened
to Herbert? What is it? What is it?” He creates a lot of tension at
the end of the story when they wish Herbert to live again, there was
several knock and as his wife goes to open the door he just gets to
wish before his wife opens the door. There is a lot of tension after
they first wished ten Herbert was down stairs on his own and simian
faces started to appear in the fire, this creates tension because you
wonder what is Herbert going to react to it.

The story opens with a hook. It tells you that it’s going to be some
kind of horror ghost story because it tells you what type of setting

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“WITHOUT, then night was cold and wet.” It also says what type of
place it is, it says

“But in the small parlour of Laburnam Villa” it gives out that the
place is on its own in an isolated location. It also says what kind of
life the people in the story have which isn’t a very interesting life.
It also says what kind of light they use, which is firelight, which
gives out the rather mysterious feeling because anything could happen
to the people if the light goes out.
Jacobs sets the seen by describing what kind of place does the
protagonists live in. He uses word like

“Beastly, slushy out of the way places.” He describes the place that
the protagonists live like an isolated setting and not a very nice
place to live in. He describes things like what kind of place it is
outside like

“Pathway’s a bog, and the road’s a torrent.”

The family expecting a visitor makes us feel like what type of visitor
it could be. It also makes it a tense feeling because it could turn
out that the visitor that turn up are not what they are expecting.

The sergeant-majors stories about paw create tension because he says
that it is magic you wonder if it is good magic or if it is a bad
magic. When Herbert asks the sergeant if he had three wishes and the
sergeant replied “I have” and the way he says it and his face reaction
which is quietly, and his blotchy face whitened, it makes tension
because you wonder why is he saying it quietly and why is his face
whitening. You ask questions like

“What happened? Why his he reacting like this?”

When the sergeant tells us what happened to the last person that is
“for death,” you wonder if the family receives the paw what could
happen to them. When the sergeant tells them how to wish and then says

“ But I warn you of the consequences,” it makes you feel what have the
family got their self into.

Herbert jokes about the paw but does he think of the consequences that
could happen. Did he listen to anything that the sergeant-major said?
Is Herbert to frivolous? Did Herbert take anything serious about the
We feel that something terrible is going to happen because the way the
sergeant told the family about what the person who had the paw before
him wished for death and Herbert says “Well I don’t see the money and
I bet I never will,” It makes you feel like something bad is going to
happen to Herbert. Also we know something else is going to happen
because the sergeant was warning them about wishing with the monkeys
paw and then they wished, the sergeant also had warned them of the
consequences and they still wished. The sergeant was obviously not
very happy after he wished after the way he reacted and he told them
to wish for something sensible and it gives you the feeling that
something horrific is going to happen.

Jacobs uses sounds and noises effectively several times in the story
e.g. the banging of the gate and the heavy footsteps of the sergeant
walking to the front door. There was door banging upstairs
mysteriously. There was sounds of weeping from outside in the nights.
They could hear the stairs creak and a squeaky mouse scurried nosily
through the wall shows how quiet they where.

The weather is used effectively several times in the story e.g.
towards the end when Mrs.White opens to the door hoping to see Herbert
on the other side but when she opens it and

“Cold wind rushed up the staircase,” which shows that nothing was
there and it’s just a lonely atmosphere outside.

Darkness adds tension in several parts of the story. One example of
this is when Mr.White had a lit match and then, when the match went
out, then when there was knocking at the door, the darkness created
dark atmosphere because Mr.White couldn’t fin the paw and it was tense
if he was or wasn’t going to find and wished to undo his last wish
before his wife opened the door.

In “The signalman” Charles Dickens creates tension by using a variety
of techniques e.g.

The story opens with a hook. It makes you want to know why the
narrator was so interested about the signalman and why was the man
looking down at the line instead of where the voice came from, it says
to the reader that something has happened to this signalman and it has
frightened him.

In the descriptions of the signalman’s post he emphasises the view of
the post. He emphasises what type of walls are on each side which was

“A dripping-wet wall of jagged stone.” He emphasises the view from
inside the post, which is

“In a gloomy red light, and the gloomier entrance to a black tunnel.”

He also tells the reader and describes the place as a type of
architecture there was, which was a

“Barbarous, depressing and forbidding air.” He tells the reader what
type of life the signalman has to go through with down in his post,
which was

“So little sunlight ever found its way to this spot, that it had an
earthy, deadly smell; and so much cold wind rushed through it, as if
he left the natural world.” This shows how depressing the signalman’s
life is.

Dickens creates a tense atmosphere by describing the signalman’s post
and around the post. This creates a tense atmosphere because it’s in
isolated settings where a little sunlight got in, this creates a tense
atmosphere because anything could happen. He creates tension when the
narrator says to the signalman

“You looked at me as if you dread me.” And the signalman replied

“It was doubtful that I have seen you before.” And when the narrator
asks where he points up at the red light. This makes it tense because
you wonder what he has seen on the red light, you wonder if he has
gone crazy or if he has seen a ghost. Charles Dickens also makes
tension when he tells the narrator not to call out when he is at the
top, it makes tension because it makes you wonder if something is
haunting him. He makes tension when the signalman tells the narrator
about what he saw, it creates tension because it makes you think what
is it and why is he saying lookout. When the narrator asks the signal
man if the bell rang when she was there and he replied twice, it makes
it tense because it makes you think that this thing that he is seeing
it haunting him.

Dickens sets the scene effectively by setting it in an isolated
setting, by doing this it shows that the signalman is out of the way
getting haunted on his own. He sets on a railway line which anything
could happen to the signalman when he chases this ghost he could slip
and receive a accident off the train and could end up to death.

The signalman describes the strange things that have happened when he
e.g. he says that “

One moonlight night, I was sitting by here, when I heard a voice cry,
‘halloa! Below there!’ This shows that the signalman was on his own
when the strange things happen to him.

The signalman is afraid which makes us feel that there is something
that is going to happen soon and it isn’t going to be pleasant. It
also makes us read on and leaves wanting to know what happens next.

We feel that something terrible is going to happen because the
atmosphere is getting tensed and the signalman is starting to get
worried. We also now that something is going to happen because the
narrator is noticing the strange things that are going on.

Darkness is used effectively several times in the story e.g. the
tunnel is dark and the signalman chased the strange person into the
tunnel and he cant find it because it is to dark. The author makes use
of sounds to add tension. One example of this is when the signalman
hears screams and cries when he is running after the thing that he is

In my opinion ‘The Monkeys Paw’ by W.W.Jacobs is the most effective.

There are several examples of

The reader is drawn into this story because it has a hook, the opening
paragraph tells you what kind of settings there is, which were
isolated settings, which gives you a thought that it might be a horror
or a ghost story. The reader is on the edge of his seat at several
points in the story e.g.

My favourite part and the best part of the story was when Herbert was
joking with ‘The Monkeys Paw’ when he said “Well I don’t see the
money, and I never shall,” then the next day he got caught in the
machinery and died and the family received two hundred pounds in
Herbert’s will as compensation of the company.

The conclusion is very effective because it makes a very tense
atmosphere just before it ends and it gives you the feeling what
would’ve happened if Mr.White didn’t undo his second wish. It makes
you want to know more about the story because you want to know will
Mrs.White know that her husband used the third wish to demolish the
second wish, and what will Mrs.White react to this. Also it makes you
want to know if Mrs.White doesn’t find out what her husband wished for
will she be waiting and waiting for her son Herbert to relive.
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