How was the author successful in creating a good piece of literature?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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"The Monkey's Paw" is one of the most technically perfect stories ever written. The author avoids long exposition and makes the story dramatic almost from the beginning. He does this by having his characters convey information in dialogue. Page after page is filled with dialogue in quotation marks. The paragraphs are all short. Some are only one sentence long. TheĀ  paragraphs that do not contain dialogue usually describe physical action. The visitor, Sergeant-Major Morris, explains the supposed powers of the monkey's paw without concealing his dread of the thing. There is action and dialogue from beginning to end, with very little in the way of description or exposition. The son Herbert is present throughout much of the story, and he is obviously a lighthearted youth who loves his parents and is loved by them. His absence will leave a gaping hole in the family. His likable personality will serve as a strong contrast to the horribly deformed monster who will presumably be knocking at the door for admission in the middle of the night after Mr. White, at his wife's insistence, has made his second wish. Stories about people who receive three wishes are as old as The Arabian Nights, yet W. W. Jacobs has made "The Monkey's Paw" seem contemporary and believable.


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