How does Jacobs build suspense in "The Monkey's Paw"? Does he use diction, detail, syntax, imagery, tone, and mood?

1 Answer | Add Yours

gkopf's profile pic

gkopf | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

  1. Dark tone, use of imagery to portray this: "Without, the night was cold and wet..."
  2. "'Hark at the wind,' said Mr. White, who, having seen a fatal mistake after it was too late..."  This refers to a chess game between Mr. White and his son, but foreshadows the horror to come.
  3. "That's the worst of living so far out," balled Mr. White with sudden and unlooked-for violence; "Of all the beastly, slushy, out of the way places to live in, this is the worst. Path's a bog, and the road's a torrent. I don't know what people are thinking about. I suppose because only two houses in the road are let, they think it doesn't matter."  Continuation of dark imagery (it was a dark and stormy night...)
  4. "It was all over so quickly that at first they could hardly realize it, and remained in a state of expectation as though of something else to happen - something else which was to lighten this load, too heavy for old hearts to bear."  Foreshadowing lends to suspense-the couple feel a tension like something else is going to happen.
  5. "Neither spoke, but lat silently listening to the ticking of the clock. A stair creaked, and a squeaky mouse scurried noisily through the wall. The darkness was oppressive, and after lying for some time screwing up his courage, he took the box of matches, and striking one, went downstairs for a candle.

    At the foot of the stairs the match went out, and he paused to strike another; and at the same moment a knock came so quiet and stealthy as to be scarcely audible, sounded on the front door."  The father wishes to see his son alive again, and is waiting to find out if his wish came true.  Jacobs builds suspense by making the reader and the father wait for the answer.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question