What are some examples of foreshadowing of evil and death in the story?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Much of the foreshadowing of evil and death in this story is produced by the dialogue, since the author has dramatized it by using as much dialogue and as little exposition and description as possible. The little story actually reads more like a play than a traditional short story. An example of how exposition and description are conveyed through dialogue is the following:

"That 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 on the road are let, they think it doesn't matter."

Some examples of dialogue foreshadowing evil and death are:

"It had a spell put on it by an old fakir ... a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

"The first man had his three wishes, yes....I don't know what the first two were, but the third was for death."

"I threw it on the fire. If you keep it, don't blame me for what happens. Pitch it on the fire again, like a sensible man."

"It moved," he cried, with a glance of disgust at the object as it lay on the floor. "As I wished it twisted in my hands like a snake."

There is far more foreshadowing of trouble in "The Monkey's Paw" than in most short stories. Evidently the author's intention was to create an ominous mood in order to catch and hold the reader's attention. There is little action until the man from Maw and Meggins appears, but the foreshadowing has a dramatic effect that builds suspense and interest.

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