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How Is Suspense And Tension Created In "The Monkey's Paw" And "The Red Room" By William Wyman Jacobs

2067 words - 8 pages

In order to study pre 20th century coursework, we have analysed two short stories. I have chosen to write about "The Monkey's Paw" and "The Red Room" as examples of which create suspense and tension most successfully.The story of 'The Monkey's Paw' features a mysterious talisman which has magical powers, it grants its owner three wishes that comes with an enormous price. The monkey's paw is given the White family of three, father, mother, and son. The father wishes for some money, and the next day an employee from their son's company arrives at the family's residence. The parents are told that their son has been caught in machinery whilst working and has died. They received a monetary compensation, the exact amount they wished for. About a week later, the mother wishes that their son would return home alive. When knocking is heard at the door, the father can not bear to face his decaying son and uses his last wish to send him away.The story of 'The Red Room' features a young man who stays in a castle in which three old people live. The elder three tells the young man the castle is haunted, the ghost lives in a room called the "Red Room". The young man decides to stay a night in this room to cast away any fears of the ghost. He sets himself up in the room and lights his candles. Just after midnight, the candles suddenly start going out and in a whirlwind of panic the young man fights with the 'ghost' desperately in the darkness. He tries to relight the candles as one by one they all go out. He violently crashes around the room throwing furniture and then faints when he strikes his head. When he wakes up, the old people ask him if he now believes the room is haunted.Both short storys use similar settings to create tension and suspense. Both draw from the Gothic motif of isolation, which is away from civilisation, the untamed space. The stories are set in scenes alike during the beginning.'The Monkey's Paw' takes place in an isolated house,"That's the worst of living so far out." The story uses Pathetic fallacy,"Without, the night was cold and wet..."This gives inanimate natural objects in a manner that endows them with human emotions, thoughts, sensations and feelings.Suspense is further built when father speaks of the arrival of a mysterious unnamed guest."I should hardly think that he'd come tonight."Tension is created when the contrast of weather between inside the house and the night is spoken of as the visitor arrives. The story commences with a sudden increased value of tension, terror and a sense of eeriness in the atmosphere. The setting is described as a "cold and wet night"; this is entered into the story to give the readers an immediate sense of terror, the weather also sets up the mood. The living conditions inside the house, describes this as a warm and cosy home. This description includes; "the blinds were drawn", "the fire burned brightly" and in the last quote the writer tries to send across a happy family vibe to his reader by...

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