Suspense in The Monkeys Paw

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 727 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Words: 727|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Table of contents

  1. I. Introduction
  2. II. The Role of Foreshadowing in Building Suspense
  3. III. The Element of Mystery in Driving Suspense
  4. IV. Character Reactions and Psychological Suspense
  5. V. The Climactic Moment and Resolution
  6. VI. Conclusion

I. Introduction

In the realm of classic horror fiction, few stories are as chilling and captivating as W.W. Jacobs' "The Monkey's Paw." This timeless tale follows the White family as they come into possession of a mystical monkey's paw that grants three wishes, but at a great cost. The story is a masterclass in suspense, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as they navigate the moral dilemmas and unforeseen consequences that unfold.

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Thesis statement: The use of suspense in "The Monkey's Paw" enhances the reader's experience and contributes to the overall theme of the story.

II. The Role of Foreshadowing in Building Suspense

One of the key elements that contribute to the suspense in "The Monkey's Paw" is the clever use of foreshadowing. From the moment the paw is introduced, there are subtle hints and clues scattered throughout the narrative that hint at the tragic turn of events to come. For example, when Sergeant-Major Morris warns the Whites about the dangers of the paw and recounts the tale of its previous owner, the ominous tone sets the stage for the impending doom.

Analysis of how foreshadowing creates anticipation and tension for the reader

By planting these seeds of doubt and fear early on, Jacobs effectively builds anticipation and tension, leaving readers eager to see how the White family's wishes will play out. The gradual unfolding of events, each more ominous than the last, keeps readers hooked and invested in the outcome, making the eventual resolution all the more impactful.

III. The Element of Mystery in Driving Suspense

Central to the suspense of "The Monkey's Paw" is the element of mystery surrounding the origins and powers of the titular artifact. The paw's eerie appearance and supernatural abilities add an air of mystique to the story, leaving readers questioning its true nature and the extent of its powers. As the Whites grapple with the decision of whether or not to make their wishes, the unknown dangers lurking in the shadows only serve to heighten the suspense.

IV. Character Reactions and Psychological Suspense

The reactions of the characters to the powers of the monkey's paw play a crucial role in heightening the suspense of the story. Mr. White's initial skepticism gives way to curiosity and eventually, desperation as he succumbs to the temptation of making a wish. Mrs. White's fear and reluctance add a layer of tension as she grapples with the consequences of their actions. Their son, Herbert, serves as a voice of reason, cautioning against the dangers of meddling with fate. Each character's unique perspective and emotions contribute to the overall atmosphere of psychological suspense, as readers are drawn into their internal struggles and conflicting desires.

As the story progresses and the Whites' wishes begin to manifest, the tension reaches its peak. Mr. White's growing unease and guilt, Mrs. White's grief and regret, and Herbert's ominous fate all add to the sense of impending doom. The characters' fears and desires come to a head in the climactic moment when they realize the true cost of their wishes, leading to a gut-wrenching resolution that leaves readers haunted by the consequences of their actions.

V. The Climactic Moment and Resolution

In the climactic moment of "The Monkey's Paw," the full extent of the paw's powers is revealed in a shocking twist that sends chills down the reader's spine. The tragic fate that befalls the White family serves as a cautionary tale, a stark reminder of the dangers of greed and the unforeseen consequences of tampering with fate. The abrupt and chilling resolution leaves readers with a sense of unease and lingering suspense, as they grapple with the moral implications of the story and the haunting question of what could have been done differently.

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VI. Conclusion

In conclusion, the use of suspense in "The Monkey's Paw" is not merely a narrative device, but an essential element that enhances the reader's experience and contributes to the overall theme of the story. Through clever foreshadowing, mystery, and psychological tension, W.W. Jacobs masterfully crafts a tale that keeps readers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. The characters' reactions, the climactic moment, and the resolution all work together to create a sense of unease and dread that lingers long after the final page is turned. "The Monkey's Paw" is a timeless classic that continues to captivate and terrify readers, reminding us of the power of suspense in shaping our understanding of the human experience.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Suspense In The Monkeys Paw. (2024, March 19). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“Suspense In The Monkeys Paw.” GradesFixer, 19 Mar. 2024,
Suspense In The Monkeys Paw. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
Suspense In The Monkeys Paw [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 19 [cited 2024 Jul 17]. Available from:
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