Essay on The Monkey's Paw

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In stories, there is a lot of suspense, tension, and foreshadowing. An example of a story with all three of those is the story The monkey's paw by W. W. jacobs. The story starts with a cold and wet night of laburnam villa. The blinds of the house are drawn and inside of the house, a fire is burning. So far in the story, all you have is the setting and a description of the house but, it is about to get very interesting. A man named Sergeant-Major Morris knocks on the door and is let in by a friend of his Mr white. they both sit down and talk by the fire while Mr. White's son listens and Mrs white is cleaning. sergeant-major morris talks about his adventures around the world as Mr white and his son listens to the miraculous stories about when the sergeant major visited India. 

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The conversation drifted to Mr white asking about the monkey's paw that the sergeant major told him about a few days ago. At first, he didn't want to talk about the paw but Mr white and his family insisted on hearing about it. This is an example among many of the tension building in the story making the reader wonder why he didn't want to talk about the paw and want to read more to find out about the paws origins and the story behind it. Then the Seargent major tells the whites about how the paw was cursed by a fakir with a magical spell that granted the man who possessed it 3 wishes. there was one catch however that brings a lot of tension to the story. The sergeant explains that for each wish you make something bad will happen in return and that the last man to wish upon it used his last wish to kill himself. This is a big example of the story having foreshadowing of an event that will happen later in the story. 

The whites are then doubting whether or not the paws magic is real but Mr white believes it. The sergeant then pulls out the paw from his pocket and throws it into the fire. immediately Mr white pulls it out. The sergeant-major then warns him never to use it and leaves the house. The whites talk about if they think the magic is real and if they should try to use the paw. After some conversation, Mr white decides to make a wish on the paw. He wishes to have 200 pounds to pay off the house. the next day a man comes to there house and says that their son had been caught in the machinery of the factory where he worked. This not just created suspense for the reader but it increased the tension of what the reader wondered what would happen to the whites next. The man from the factory gave the family 200 pounds to the whites as compensation for the boy's work. The story goes on with the family not knowing what the do and the wife about to use the second wish to get her son back. This is yet another instance in the story where suspense and tension are built. 

After using the second wish the wife goes to the door after hearing someone knocking at the door. The husband who upstairs hears his wife open the door and then scream. He runs down the stairs to the open door and sees that now his wife and his son are gone. he then uses his last wish to end his life. In the end, this story is a great example of tension suspense and foreshadowing and is jam-packed full of all three.

Works cited

  1. Jacobs, W. W. (1902). The monkey's paw. The Lady of the Barge and Other Stories. Harper & Brothers Publishers.
  2. Propp, V. (1968). Morphology of the folktale. University of Texas Press.
  3. Campbell, J. (1949). The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Bollingen Series XVII. Princeton University Press.
  4. Gardner, J. (1973). The art of fiction. Vintage.
  5. Freud, S. (1919). The Uncanny. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Hogarth Press.
  6. Le Guin, U. K. (1980). The language of the night: Essays on fantasy and science fiction. Ultramarine Publishing Co.
  7. Poe, E. A. (1842). The Masque of the Red Death. Graham's Magazine.
  8. Shakespeare, W. (1606). Macbeth. First Folio.
  9. Todorov, T. (1973). The fantastic: A structural approach to a literary genre. Cornell University Press.
  10. Wharton, E. (1911). Ethan Frome. Charles Scribner's Sons.

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