The “Monkey’s Paw” and “The blackcat.”
Authors employ many techniques toconvey lessons and important messages to the readers. Short storiesare part of the media used. W.W Jacobs and Edgar Allan Poe, in theirshort stories, “The black cat” and “The Monkey’s Paw”, usehorror to present to the reader some vital issues affecting thesociety such as the effects of reckless decision making, indulgencein alcoholism, greed, superstitions and others. In this discussion,the major aspects, which will be capturedinclude the author’s creation of the sense of horror, the choice ofsettings and atmosphere in the descriptionof the story, the way in which they develop characters to suit theirplot and other important aspects ofliterature such as the use of symbolism and tone.
The authors create a sense of horror in the most ingeniousways. “The Monkey’s Paw “starts on anight with a stormthe street where Mr. White, his wife, and son Herbert live isdeserted. In the house, doors bang unexpectedly and there issqueaking of the stairs. In silence, a sudden ticking of the clock isheard. The events described at thebeginning of the short story create some tension in the reader. Onedoes not require rocket science to understand that there is animminent and terrible situation lying ahead. The events happen beforethe arrival of Sergeant Major Morris, the man who, according to myopinion, is the inception of all the problems that the White familyface afterwards. He came with the monkey’spaw from India where he was an Army officerfor 21 years. When Jacobs first describes the family of Mr. White, hemakes the reader understand that it is a happy,and comfortable family despite some financial challenges, which mightbe affecting it. Mrs. White is a caring mother andwife her husband loves them too. It is a family full ofaffection they are seated at the fireplaceduring the storm. Later on, the writer introduces the tragicexperiences that the family goes through. It issuddenly infested with death and strangeoccurrences. As the reader gets to this point of the story, he/ shebegins to sense some horrible ending of the story. Herbert White isseen as a playful, charming, and happy personthen he is abruptly described as a corpse, and able to walkback home from the cemetery. The reader can have a clear awareness ofhorror in the story. W.W Jacobs’s technique was important in makingthe message comprehensible to the audience.
On the other hand, Edgar Allan utilizes his writing expertise tocreate a horror picture to the user. Horroris associated with dark and evil events,which are presented through supernaturalcharacters and experiences. The narrator initially explains how heloved animals luckily, he married a wife who also shared hisinterest. She often brings him pets. Among the dearest to him isPluto, a black cat. He has a cordial relationship with him. Plutoalso loves his master. Then in a turn of events, the narratorindulges in alcoholism, mistreating his wife and other pets. Later,he gets mad at Pluto because he thinks Pluto is avoiding him, hekills the cat. The horror begins when hehangs his cat but later in the day, his house isconsumed with fire.
The narrator sees images of a hanged cat on the remaining wall. Healso coincidentally meets a cat who resembles Pluto but this timewith a white patch on the neck. The catmakes the narrator’s life horrible and terrible. Again, because ofthe mix up in killing the cat, he ends up killing his wife. The catdisappears after her death. When the police come, the cat reappearsto torment him leading to his incarceration and where he is scheduledfor hanging. The thoughts that he has about the cat make him soconfused and irrational. This event ignitesa feeling of horror in the reader.
The settings and the atmospheres in the two stories areessential. Edgar uses two importantsettings through the narrator. First, the narrator tells his storywhile in jail awaiting hanging the next day. It gives the reader arough idea of the fate which thestoryteller suffers. Such a start lights the desire to read more toget what led to such ending. The other events happen as the narratorflashbacks. It gives the entire storyline thus enhancing moreunderstanding. The atmosphere and setting emphasizesthe horror theme. Also, they explain the tribulations of thestoryteller.
Jacobs uses character and setting to stressthe idea of fearand enhance more understanding of the story. The setting gives a clueof the period which the author wrote hisstory. For instance, the description of India, White’s family,Herbert’s place of work may indicate that it was around the 1900s.It is because, by 1902, the British werestill in India. Also, the working conditions in British factorieswere unfavorable.
The first section of the story takes place at night in White’shouse. Day two is covered insection two and finally ten days after the death of Herbert,the third section is narrated. Maw and Meggins Company isanother setting it is a corporation,which operated the factory where Herbert was working. There are nomuch details about the plant, but it isimportant because there is a rough idea of the working conditionsthen. India is the place where the monkey’s paw wasobtained. It depicts how the Britons perceived India. It wasknown to Britain in the 1900s because they still occupied as aBritish colony. Foreigners were associated with evil when they cameto Britain.
Character development is one of the most important spicesin narration. Mrs. White is a hardworking and intelligent lady. Theauthor recognizes her as more intelligent than her husband. She makesmajor decisions in the family. She asks her husband to utilize theother wishes, which he does and later makes a third requestbecause he does not want his son to return from the dead. Mrs. Whitemakes us realize the strengths of the monkey’spaw and promotes suspense. Mr. White is at the center ofissues surrounding his family. Without his decisions, we would nothave realized the capabilities of the paw. Major Morris is the linkbetween the monkey’s paw and England. He brings the monkey’s pawfrom India. He knows what it can do butstill sells it to Mr. White.
Fewer details are givenabout Herbert, but he is chosen to die sothat the reader can see the dark power that lies with the monkey’spaw. After his burial, a wish for him to resurrect is made.Afterward, there is knocking at the door, where everybody isexpecting Herbert. The narrator in the black cat is shown to havesome insanity. The cat(s) are also important in the story since theypropel the major theme.
Allan uses symbolism to enhance the story. Pluto is a Greekgod of the underworld. The narrator also names hisblack cat Pluto. It may also refer to Satanor hell. The title of the story also symbolizes misfortune and badluck. When one is called a black cat, itmeans he/she is evil. The monkey’s paw represents greediness anddesire for riches that most people had during those days and even inthe current generation. Chess is a representation of the life, whichWhite and his family led. It was a life of taking chances. Peopleexpected superstitious work to satisfy their desires.
The portrayal of horror in the two stories has significantlyinfluenced the storyline. Employment of the mainliterature styles and aspects promote understanding. Gothicand classic horror have contributed to the development of Englishacross the world. They add flavors to the quality of writing.There are a lot of things that are beyond the sight of a normal humaneye, for example magic and superstition. Mysterious events do happenall over the world. Therefore, it is vital to haveknowledge of such horror stories. W.W Jacobs and Edgar Allandid a commendable work in literature, andthough they no longer walk on the face of earth,their masterpieces will always uphold their names. The short storiescarry details such as the factory conditions of that time,superstitions, grief, and isolation. Theseare problems, which still disturb the current generation. Weshould have the diverse knowledge to ensurecontinuity of human race.
Jacobs, W. W. TheMonkey`s Paw The Lady Of The Barge And Others, Part 2.Project Gutenberg, 2004. Print.
Poe, Edgar Allen. BlackCat, The. South Bend: Infomotions,Inc., 2000. Print.