Show how the setting is used to create an effective atmosphere for the visit of the sergeant-major. "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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It is a dark, gloomy, stormy night. The Whites live so far out until the ground is soggy, wet and spongy. They live so far out until no one really cares about their existence:

'That's the worst of living so far out,' bawled 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. Pathway'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.'

Truly, the Whites' setting is very effective for such a tale as "The Monky's Paw." It is a terrible night to be out. The sergeant-major is very brave to rough the torrential rain. Also, it is quite a ways out for the sergeant-major to travel. He had to experience a wet, spongy pathway and horrific rainfall. Likewise, the Whites are isolated from others.

Living way out creates an effective horror-type atmosphere. The setting makes the second and third wish even more eerie. Imagining a dead son walking down that long soggy path makes the scene especially horrific. The Whites' setting is effective throughout the story and makes the story more intense.

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