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Why is the rising action in "The Monkey's Paw" so important to the story?

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patty161 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 12, 2010 at 12:15 PM via web

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Why is the rising action in "The Monkey's Paw" so important to the story?

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted September 13, 2010 at 7:08 AM (Answer #1)

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In the story "The Monkey's Paw" the story begins with a sense of curiosity and suspense as Sergeant-Major Morris tells Mr. and Mrs. White about the monkey's paw and the bad effect it has had on people.  He throws it into the fire.  Mr. White retrieves the paw.  Morris tells him that he needs to be very careful when he makes his wish.

The reader is given the clues that something bad is going to happen through foreshadowing.  When the Whites begin to use the wishes, as they can not resist the temptation, they wish for money and learn their son has died, but they are given the sum that they had wished for.

The reader knows there is more to happen.  The son is now dead and the family is in mourning.  He was more precious than money.  The wife wishes him back alive.  The tension heightens to demonstrate that the words of Morris had been ignored.  The reader's tension builds with the rising action.  The rising action is important because it leads the reader into a state of heightened anxiety as he waits to find out what will be behind the door.  The reader knows the son had died and can only imagine what creature he could have become.

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