The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs

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How does the author create suspense?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The best example of how the author creates suspense comes toward the end with the knocking at the door.

At the foot of the stairs the match went out, and he paused to strike another, and at the same moment a knock, so quiet and stealthy as to be scarcely audible, sounded on the front door.

The first knock is "quiet and stealthy." Why?

The matches fell from his hand. He stood motionless, his breath suspended until the knock was repeated.

This second knock may have been equally "quiet and stealthy."

Then he turned and fled swiftly back to his room, and closed the door behind him. A third knock sounded through the house.

This knock is so loud it can be heard all over the house.

"What's that?"cried the old woman, starting up.

He tells her it was a rat.

A loud knock resounded through the house.

The third knock "sounded" but the next knock "resounded." Obviously it was much louder.

There was another knock, and another.

Herbert's mother is trying desperately to open the door.

A perfect...

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mizzwillie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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