How Does WWJacobs Present An Atmosphere Of Mystery And Suspense In "The Monkeys Paw".

Essay by GarethsGalC+, July 2003

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WWJacobs presents an atmosphere of mystery and suspense in The Monkeys Paw. The mystery of the Monkeys Paw is a cleverly thought out story. The story had three main parts. These parts were the first wish, the second wish and the third wish. It is written in third person. Although this makes you more distant from the characters, you get a more descriptive and a broader view of what's happening. WWJacobs creates interest in the story with the word 'nothing'.

The description is probably the main point which creates an atmosphere of mystery and suspense. It first seems as a comfy family home where 'the fire burned brightly'. But it is in an area where it is 'cold and wet', and 'the roads a torrent'. These comments by WWJacobs about the weather also reflect on the story. At the beginning, everything is perfect until the monkeys paw is introduced.

WWJacobs looks closely at the feeling of the story and relates it to the weather outside.

The main symbol in The Monkeys Paw is shown in the game of chess. With the phrase 'checkmate', it is shown that you cannot win and it is a game of radical changes, as it says at the end. The word 'checkmate' hints at fate. WWJacobs hints at what is to come in the story. Checkmate and brave moves create radical changes.

Another symbol is the £200. They never anticipated the precise form of the money. There was a more serious cost involved - the life of their son. His death showed irony. Herbert (the son) said previously in the story 'I don't see the money and I bet I never shall'. This is another hint of the future. Herbert dies and never does see the money as it is compensation for his death.