The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs

The Monkey's Paw book cover
Start Your Free Trial

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

Expert Answers info

Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write784 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The experience of suspense, both in literature and in other contexts like film and theater, involves the process of waiting. As the feeling of waiting intensifies, the reader/audience members wants the knowledge that is withheld even more desperately, which intensifies the enjoyment of the experience. In "The Monkey's Paw," a short story by W. W. Jacobs, suspense is created in several instances, and all of them have to do with a sensation of waiting.

First of all, the strange story that surrounds the monkey's paw in Sargeant-Major Morris's possession is unclear; while waiting to understand the mystery of the paw and its wishes, Herbert impulsively makes a wish for a sum of money. His rashness is seemingly punished later, when he is killed in a machinery accident, and the factory pays his family the same sum in compensation for his death. The timing of these incidents is key, and they all leave the reader wondering if the paw could be responsible. As the reader waits to find out, the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,006 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write9,441 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics





Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write1,721 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

check Approved by eNotes Editorial