How WW Jacobs Creates a Sense of Horror in The Monkey’s Paw Essay

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Jacobs creates a sense of horror in ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by using a variety of literary techniques. As ‘The Monkey's Paw’ was written in 1902, Jacobs makes the story scary in ways that are very different to modern horror films and books. We can tell that the story was written in the early twentieth century as it contains many details that would have been common in Victorian literature. One of the most obvious features from ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ that tells us that the story was written over a century ago, is the old-fashioned language that Jacobs uses. The language used throughout the story contains words such as ‘rubicund’ and ‘visage’, which are not words that are commonly used today. Also, the fact that £200 was considered to be a lot of …show more content…
Instead, he uses subtle hints in most aspects of the story to build up an element of terror and one of these aspects is the way that Jacobs uses setting. The main way in which Jacobs uses setting to increase the tension in ‘The Monkey’s Paw’, is the way that he creates contrast between the wild outside weather and the cosy atmosphere inside the Whites’ home. At the beginning of the story, Jacobs describes the night as ‘cold and wet’, whereas Jacobs describes the Whites’ home by writing ‘the fire burned brightly’. This contrast makes the reader associate the outside with dark, cold and bad while associating the inside with light, warm and good. There is one thing that is keeping the White family safe from the badness of the outside, and that is the blinds. The blinds are drawn in part 1 of ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ when the Whites are a cosy, normal family protected from grief and terror. However, in part 3 of the story when Mrs White is looking for Herbert to come back from the dead, Jacobs writes ‘the old woman, with burning eyes, walked to the window and raised the blind’. I think that the blind is a symbol for a barrier that protects the Whites from the danger of the outside and when Mrs White raises the blind to look for her son she lets some of that danger into her home. Also, the visitors bring some of the danger and badness from the outside into the Whites’ home when they visit. For example, when the Sergeant-Major visits, he brings the monkey’s
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