How does the author create suspense in "The Monkey's Paw"?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In The Monkey's Paw, the author creates suspense through the mystery surrounding the monkey's paw.  When Sergeant Major Morris visits the Whites, he brings with him the very vague and mysterious story of the monkey's paw.  He tells the Whites that he wants to get rid of it, the Whites are very interested, especially Mr. White.

Sergeant Major Morris goes on to tell the Whites that the monkey's paw, which he produces, and shows them, has the ability to grant three people, three wishes.  And, Sergeant Major Morris was the second owner.

The author never tells us what Sergeant Major Morris wished for, nor does he tell us the first two wishes of the first owner.  We only know that his final wish was for death.

Further in the story, the suspense is built through the unknown quality of how the wishes made on the monkey's paw by Mr. White will be granted.  After the first wish for 200 pounds is granted through the accidental death of Herbert, the White's son, they are well aware of the evil, dark magic that the monkey's paw is capable of, however, they continue to use it.

When Mr. White and Mrs. White are scrambling at the end of the story, he looking for the monkey's paw on the floor, and she dragging a chair to the door to open it to let in whatever is on the other side, should be Herbert raised from the grave.  The suspense is very intense, it is great reading