Suspense And Mystery In 'the Monkey's Paw' And 'the Red Room'

1606 words - 7 pages

In this essay, I am going to compare ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by W.W Jacobs with ‘The Red Room’ by H.G Wells. I am going to examine how both the writers create suspense and mystery in the stories. ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ is basically about a paw which can be used to grant wishes for its owner. In humour, the White family make their first wish without considering what had happened to the people before them, also they are ignoring that the consequences will be disastrous. ‘The Red Room’ is about a man determined to prove that there are no ghosts in Lorraine Castle. In order to do so, he had to spend the night in the red room, ultimately a once in a life time experience. The two stories are only similar ...view middle of the document...

Having the story set in a castle makes it easy for the reader to blend in with the surroundings as it seems more like a 20th century gothic horror story. Also shown in this story is once again the isolation factor. This factor raises the level of suspense and puts the reader on edge.
Another factor which creates suspense is the mystery of ‘’the red room’’ and its description of it being ‘’a haunted room’’. Rapidly suspense is raised from this quote because it adds more horror to the current setting. The colour ‘’Red’’ is also associated with blood/ death and this makes the reader suspect that something tragic is going to happen to the narrator. By this time the reader now feels involved and feels that they are in the situation.
The main element that creates suspense through the setting is the intensive description of the passage he took to get to ‘’the red room’’; ‘the long, draughty subterranean passage was chilly and dusty’. This quote is very descriptive and supports my point: the reader can easily create an image of the surroundings and can place their self in the situation. The fear levels are constantly increasing as the narrator gets closer to the ‘’ haunted room’’ and consciously the reader is waiting to reach the room.
Now, onto the structure of ‘The Monkey’s Paw’. It is obvious to see that W.W Jacobs has used a typical horror story opening sentence: ‘’ without, the night was cold and wet’’. This gives the reader the first impression of suspense by the mention of ‘’night’’. From this the reader feels eager to read on and find out more.
A pattern of suspense can be spotted in ‘The Monkeys Paw’ which changes according to the actions. The opening scene is a relatively calm and peaceful on with ‘’Father and son were at chess’’. However, this rather homely scene is broken with suspense by the arrival of a visitor: ‘’There he is’’ said Herbert White. The visitor raises mystery by making the reader question his being there. Suspense levels were raised dramatically when the visitor introduced the family to the strange object which was the ‘’monkey’s paw’’, this is because it is rather abnormal to have a monkeys paw in your pocket. Once again the levels of suspense were raised when the White family’s guest told them that they could make wishes with it because the reader starts to question what they are going to wish for and whether they will use it efficiently.
A high peak of tension is built when the characters decide to make a wish, their first wish was for: ‘’ I wish for two hundred pounds’’. When the money does not come as soon as the White family had expected the reader starts to question the powers of the monkeys paw and whether or not it actually has any sort of mystical powers. However, our beliefs that the monkeys paw does have some sort of mystical powers when it ‘’twisted’’ in Mr. White’s hand and not only created fear in the reader but also in Mr. White himself.
As the time period changes from the fearful night to the bright...

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