In W.W. Jacobs' "The Monkey's Paw," describe the difference between the type of introduction and type of conclusion used by the author.

1 Answer | Add Yours

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In the introduction of W.W. Jacob's short story "The Monkey's Paw," the reader is presented with an image of a wet and blustery night out of doors, but attention is immediately drawn to the occupants of the house, warm and dry, enjoying a pleasant evening at home.

Without, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were at chess, the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical changes, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils that it even provoked comment from the white-haired old lady knitting placidly by the fire.

The introduction is used to set the mood for the story. Imagery is created through the use of sensory details with words/phrases such as:

...the fire burned brightly.

...the occupants of the house, warm and dry...

...enjoying a casual evening...

...old lady knitting placidly by the fire.

Though the night is "cold and wet," a sharp contrast is presented in the introduction. The mood created is one of warmth and comfort, and protection from the elements (weather).

In the conclusion, also known as the denouement, an entirely different mood is present. This is an appropriate closing for a tale that started out with the introduction of a happy family, secure and safe on a stormy night that has become into a story of tragedy, loss and fear. The last paragraph, as did the first, uses imagery—but it is directly opposite to that presented at the start of the story.

The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair drawn back, and the door opened. A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The street lamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.

Consider the images of:

...knocking ceased suddenly...

...echoes of it...still in the house...

...a cold wind rushed up the staircase...

...a loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife...

...deserted road...

Gone is the warmth, light and the welcoming scene presented in the first paragraph. Consider the words and phrases such as "suddenly," "echoes," "cold wind rushed," "loud wail of disappointment and misery," and "deserted road." The family's son has died; the parents believe they have conjured up a horrific facsimile of the young man they have so recently lost. While the father is relieved—he has a returning sense of "courage," the mother's hope to see her son again, any way possible, has abruptly ended with her "loud wail" and "misery." 

The introduction in no way prepares the reader for the plot development, climax and resolution of the story. The lovely scene presented in the introduction allows the author to completely surprise the reader with what turned into a tale of horror and suspense.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,957 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question