How Is Tension Built Up In ?The Monkey?S Paw? And ?The Red Room?? Essay, Research Paper
How is Tension built up in ?The Monkey?s Paw? and ?The Red Room??
The success of any short story depends upon the skill with which the plot moves. The writer does not have the time to develop ideas that he has in a novel but at the same time all those elements must be present.
The unusual element in ?The Monkey?s Paw? is how much the plot depends upon coincidence and irony. The successful use of these knits the story together and contributes to the tension. Examples of this are:
· The coincidence of the Monkey?s Paw being in the possession of Morris.
· The fact it is given movement and a sort of life (personification) as wishes are made suggest a possible disaster. For instance the piano crashes, you hear the man cry out and the paw moves when a wish is made.
· The paw is clearly a bad omen. For instance, the third wish of the original owner was for death which suggests that the other two wishes brought unhappiness.
· Morris says, ? I warn you of the consequences.? Clearly here however innocent the wish, Morris knows it will end badly. ? Don?t blame me for what happens.?
· The major coincidence centred on the ?200. ?How could ?200 hurt you.? She will soon find out. There are two climaxes in the story. The first is how they get the ?200 (the fact that Hubert did not only die but the way he died, a horrible mutilated death) and the second the tension associated with the knocking at the door.
· Hubert the son is himself the focus in what happens to him of some tragic irony. He refers to the money and uses the words ?before I come back? and he never does come back. His mother says of her son ?when he comes home? again he never does come home. Hubert himself says prophetically ?I don?t see the money and I bet I never shall.? This is tragic irony.
Language is always used, as in poetry, to convey atmosphere in a good story. In a story about the supernatural, you should expect a strong link between the language and the action so the language reinforces what is going on. An example of this is the following vocabulary on page 37: ?talisman, crash, shuddering, disgust, twisted, shock, dying, uneasy, shiver, dirty, shrivelled and something horrible squatting.?
There are also examples of this on other pages these words include: ?sinister, awful, fears, horror, sightless, senseless, cemetery, shadow, silence and hopeless.?
Place and weather again plays an important role and the atmosphere is described as cold and wet, small parlour and in the middle of nowhere?.
In ?the Red Room? I think that the three old people build up a certain element of tension. My reaction to these old people is that these people are stereotypes. This is because they are described as frail, ?said the man with the withered arm.? And they sit around the front of the fire solitarily, ?sat staring hard into the fire?. Another example of the old people being stereotypes and probably the best is the following, ?as the second old man entered, more wrinkled, more aged even than the first, he supported himself by a single crutch, his eyes were covered by a shade, his lower lip half averted, hung pale and pink from his decaying yellow teeth?.
In ?The Red Room? the dialogue strikes me as unrealistic. This I because no one speaks like this ?Eight-and-twenty years.? Even in the time that this story was written, the dialogue used between the old people is supposed to reflect how old they are.
The tension in ?The Red Room? itself in my opinion is the most effective. An example of the language used is as follows: ?vigil, begun, hid, dying, fallen headlong down the steps, ghostly tradition, older stories, clung, timid, tragic end, frightening, sombre, shadowy window, black, peering, secret opining, unexpected, shiver ? etc. These words all create a sort of mystery along with tension. I think the most effective way this story creates tension is by making things like shadows have a ghostly feel to them. The effectiveness of this story is created by how the plot moves.