Of all the horror short stories I have read “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W Jacobs is by far the best for creating a suspenseful atmosphere/mood. I intend to show how W.W Jacobs creates this suspenseful atmosphere/mood through the analysis of setting, narrative, dialogue and character in order to deepen my understanding.
“The Monkey’s Paw” tells the story of a small but close family, the Whites who are visited by Sergeant-Major-Morris a friend of Mr Whites who brings with him the monkey’s paw. Sergeant-Major-Morris then tells how the owner of this magical monkeys paw is granted three wishes. Despite warning from Sergeant-Major-Morris, Mr White in greed wishes for two hundred pounds. We are then left wondering if Mr Whites wish will come true and before any money is found, Herbert White dies in a tragic machinery accident at work. Visited by a representative from the work the Whites receive two hundred pound in compensation, which we are then left to believe is the two hundred pound Mr White wished for and that the monkey’s paw is in fact magical. After Herbert is laid to rest his mother, Mrs White, in desperation demands Mr White use one of two remaining wishes to wish their son alive again. Despite protest Mr White wishes and later knocking begins at the door, which may be Herbert White. Mrs White escapes her husbands restrain and dashes to the door while Mr White searches rapidly to find the monkey’s paw in order to wish his son dead again to prevent his wife seeing her son’s tattered, torn body. In this extremely dramatic climax Mrs White finally gets the bolt off and ready to rip the door open just as Mr White finds the paw and uses his third and final wish. The street was deserted and Mrs White was left in devastation, Mr White in relief and we are left in a state of uncertainty, who was knocking on the door? What was Mr White’s final wish? And was all this the result of the monkey’s paw?
I believe W.W Jacobs use of setting is superb for