How is suspense created and maintained in The Monkey's Paw and The Red Room?

Essay by dilanHigh School, 11th gradeA, February 2004

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In The Monkey's Paw written by W.W. Jacobs and The Red Room written by H.G. Wells, there are many similarities and differences in the ways the stories are written and suspense created. For example, both stories belong to the horror genre where the supernatural appears due to human interferences, and both have a fast and frantic climax where the characters' lives are put in jeopardy. However they do differ in places, one of the key differences being that The Monkey's Paw is written in third person whereas The Red Room is a narrative.

W.W Jacobs uses many different techniques in The Monkey's Paw to build up an atmosphere of suspense and uneasiness. One way this is done is by Jacob's description of the White family's location, a bleak, desolate and isolated place. The fact that it is so far away from any built up area indicates to the reader that if something were to happen to them, then they would be very vulnerable,

"of all the beastly, slushy, out-of-the-way places to live in, this is the worst".

The words Mr White uses to describe the area creates an element of mystery. Jacobs builds up suspense even further by describing the wintry weather. Typical of many stories in the horror genre, "the night was cold and wet", and at night in the middle of nowhere, the slightest sounds or movements seems a lot scarier. Jacobs creates a conventional horror story setting where the reader expects something to go awry.

However the mood and setting of the outside is a sharp contrast to the warm, inviting interior of the Laburnum Villa. Here Jacobs creates a friendly family scene where the "fire burned brightly" and the father and son play a game of chess. Here the warmth and safety of the inside juxtaposes...