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 scream sounds through the house, as his wife is screaming Mr White was scurrying around the floor looking for the Talisman. As he gets holds of it he makes one final wish, for his son to once again be gone.
The setting in the tale is deliberately vague. There are some things that indicate the era in which it is set, for example, an antimacassar: “…..Mrs White armed with an antimacassar.” This is a cut of material that was used in the past to prevent grease marking furniture and is something you would normally find in period style houses. Another setting is the house itself and the road where it is based. These can be considered as gothic features because there are only two houses on the road that are actually occupied. “I suppose because only two houses on the road are let, they think it doesn’t matter.” This shows that it’s potentially a new road, off the beaten track. This creates fear because the writer gives the impression that it is lonely and isolated, lacking in neighbours to help the family if needed. They would be trapped.
The writer describes the weather frequently throughout the tale. The first time he describes it is at the beginning, this is a gothic feature. “The night was cold and wet.” This is...