The Red Room and The Monkey's Paw Compare and Contrast

H.G.Wells is very well known for the science fiction books that he wrote. With his first novel “The Time Machine” which became was immediately successful he began to write a series of science fiction novels that revealed him as a writer of many ideas and a strong sense of imagination. In his lifetime he has been a novelist, journalist and historian.

W.W.Jacobs was an English short story writer best known for his classic horror story “The Monkey’s Paw” which was given to the public to read in 1902.

He has not written as many books as H.G .Wells but has wrote some good pieces of work.

In both “The Red Room” and “The Monkey’s Paw” the titles are both strange. For example “The Red Room” makes us think of blood, danger, violence, and stop so we assume that in “The Red Room” something bad is going has happened or is going to happen and it makes us feel scared.

“The Monkey’s Paw” is a strange title because the “Paw” is part of a monkey’s body and causes the reader to wonder where the rest of the monkey is and why it is just called “The Monkey’s Paw” and makes us wonder what is going to happen in the story. They are both short horror stories which display a sense of terror, suspense and tension. Short stories have a simple plot, limited number of characters and the outcome is generally surprising and is often delivered at the end.

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“The Red Room” is about a young man who does not believe in ghosts and he has no fear so he plans to spend the night at a castle called Lorraine Castle where there is allegedly haunted room called “The Red Room”. He meets three old people who warn him not to enter “The Red Room” however he is so confident that no ghosts exist so they cannot persuade him from going to “The Red Room”.

However when he is going on the way to “The Red Room” he encounters shadows moving and hears strange and weird sounds. When he arrives in

“The Red Room” he encounters stranger more terrifying moments like candles extinguishing themselves and shadows appearing and moving forwards to him as if they were humans as well as darkness surrounding the entire room. In the darkness he strikes something on his head and loses consciousness. When he regains consciousness his head is bandaged, three old people are surrounding him eager to know what occurred in “The Red Room”. They thinking that the room is haunted and that there are ghosts but much to their disappointment the man reveals the only thing what made “The Red Room” terrifying was Fear.

“The Monkey’s Paw” takes place in a house called Laburnum Villa. It describes how a soldier named visits a family of three: A father mother and son who live in the Villa and he tells them about his adventures in India and what he found. He tells them about a mysterious object which is a monkey’s paw which has magical powers that grant the user three wishes. However there are consequences to the wishes that you ask for. The family does not believe in this and so their first wish is for �200.

The day after the old man had his first wish an employee of the son’s workplace arrives at the family home bringing grave news about the son having an accident at work and that they will get compensation for it. They received the same amount of money that they wished for. A few days later after hearing the news of their son’s death, the mother due to her grief used the monkey’s paw wishing for her son to come back home alive. At the same moment loud knocking is heard on the outside door. The father thinks the thing outside their door is not their son but is a monster of what they wanted however the woman thinks it is her son come back from the dead and goes to open the door and so in a act of desperation the old man uses his last wish .The knocking stops and when the mother opens the door there is no one there.

A setting is a place where something is set for example most horror and gothic stories are located in a scary isolated surrounding such as; a castle, forest and places where there is dark and scary surroundings. The reason why authors use these kinds of surroundings is to make the reader feel scared and for them to imagine what it would be like all alone in a big castle or a dark forest surrounded by noises and shadows which you can’t interpret.

The setting may affect the atmosphere and tension in the story by making it scarier and feel more afraid as well as make the reader less inclined to put the book down. The setting of a horror story affects the audience by making them feel afraid and make them imagine that they are there in the story experiencing the dreadful and terrifying things in the story and make them feel scared if they are reading the book by themselves in a dark surrounding.

Isolation is when a place or person is by themselves or away from civilization. Isolation may affect the audience by making them feel like they are by themselves and that because they are the only person reading the book they will feel scared. It is typical for a place to be isolated

in ghost stories because if there were quite a lot of buildings in the area then it would make the experience less frightening because where there are lots of buildings there are lots of people so it makes the reader feel safe whereas where there is only a couple of buildings the reader feels that if there are so little buildings what can they do to stop the horror coming.

Another technique used in the setting is pathetic fallacy. Pathetic Fallacy is when the mood, tension or the atmosphere is compared to the weather for example “Morning, dismal and wet”. This describes the mood and the weather all in one line. The quote is from Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” novel. Authors use pathetic fallacy in ghost stories to make the reader understand the weather and the character’s emotions. If in a story the castle was terrifying then the weather outside would be raining and thunder and lightning would commence. It makes the reader feel that the emotions of the character is portrayed with the weather and show their mood of what the character is feeling as well as creating a more scarier atmosphere.

“The Monkey’s Paw” is set in a isolated place called Laburnum Villa which is not a typical setting for a horror story because it is not a very big house and is small and is comforting as it says ” the fire burned brightly”. This makes the reader feel safe. I personally think that this does not add to the level of tension because as far as the reader is concerned when reading that the setting is not a castle or spooky surroundings they are immediately ponder whether this story will be scary at all.

The inside of the house is told to be warm and that the father and son of the house as playing chess e.g. Father and son were at chess”. This makes the reader feel that nothing bad is going to happen if the characters are playing chess together and enjoying each other’s company. The inside of the house also tells us that this story was written a long time ago because it says “fire burned brightly “. Nowadays every household has electricity and it is a bit strange for a parlour to have not have electricity so this suggests that this story was written some time ago. The author however describes the place of where the cottage is as a bad place to live as the text says “beastly, slushy, out-of-the-way places to live in, this is the worst”. This suggests that the place where the characters are located is a horrible place to live and that they don’t want to live there. The surroundings outside the parlour affect the reader by telling them that the family have no contact to other people and have to travel quite far to go get help.

“The Red Room” however is set in a castle and as far as the reader can imagine away from people. The name of the castle is called Lorraine Castle and this is a typical setting for a horror story because a castle represents many things. A castle has many rooms and secrets that cannot be revealed except by trying to find out what is in there. Castles make a horror story be one because a castle is enormous, dull, and can give out echoes and a person can feel very lonely. Castles are used in films because they portray a sense of fear and make people feel that there is something in their making them feel scared. This adds to the level of the tension very much because it makes the reader feel that a castle contains many hidden features and they can be revealed.

The inside of the castle is said to be big as it has many doors and lots of staircases e.g. “you come to a door, and through that is a spiral staircase and halfway up that is a landing and another door covered with baize. Go through that and down the long corridor to the end, and the red room is on your left up the steps”. This explains that the house is vast and very big and that it takes a little bit of time to go to a certain part of the castle. Also it describes the passage which leads to the red room as being “subterranean”. This explains that the passage is underneath the castle explaining that the castle is big. The passage is also described as “the echoes rang up”. This explains that the castle is big enough to transmit echoes everywhere.

The time of day “The Monkey’s Paw” is set is at night e.g. “the night was cold and wet”. This time of day is typical in this sort of story because night represents shadows, fear, darkness as well as the things lurking at night. This adds to the level of tension by making the reader feel that at night lots of terrifying events occur. This is important because the time of day is an important bit in a horror story and this makes the story more intimidating adding more to the tension.

The time of day is set and night as it says in the text “this nights of all nights”. This explains that the time of the day in the castle is at night. It also says “if you go to the red room tonight-“. This also explains that the time of day is set at night. I also notice that the old lady repeated “this nights of all nights” but they are spoken differently. The first quote is said with an exclamation showing that she is warning him and that today is a bad night however when she repeats it she asks it as a question and this shows she is curious whether the character will actually accomplish what he wants to do. The narrator also says in the text “If I see anything tonight”. This shows that the time of day is at night as he is speaking in the present tense and that night is now.

Pathetic fallacy is used in “The Monkey’s Paw” when it says in the text “the night was cold and wet”. This describes the weather as being wet and the human nature as feeling cold. Also it says “brightness of the wintry sun” which describes the pleasant morning in the story and that the weather is sunny. This adds to the level of tension in the story because the night creates frightening thoughts and it is a bit strange for the sun to be in a horror story causing suspense and making them wonder why anything bad has not occurred yet. The second quote is a bit strange because of the language calling the sun “wintry” because the sun is hot and light is shone whereas winter is cold and dark. I think the reason why the author has used this word is because he wants to add to the tension by making the reader feel that even though the sun is out something bad will happen.

Pathetic Fallacy in “The Red Room” is also used as it says in the text “its black corners, its germinating darkness”. This describes that the room is dark and is growing like a seed around him making him feel scared. This adds to the level of tension by making the dark seem petrifying the reader feel that the darkness is growing as it is alive. This affects the language because the darkness does not “germinate” and only seeds do this when they are changing into a plant. The author is describing the darkness and developing like a seed and growing.

Isolation is used in “The Monkey’s Paw” because in the text it says “that’s the worst out of living so far out”. This explains that the surroundings where the family live is isolated and away from civilization. It also says in the text when the father complains “out of the way places to live”. This explains to the reader that they are living away from people and that they are living with nobody to talk to and have pleasure with someone else’s company other than themselves. This is typical of a ghost story because it makes the surroundings more chilling because of them being by themselves and when help is needed they have no one to aid them so it makes the horror of the story be able to make the family scared. This adds to the level of tension by making it more unnerving and for the reader to feel afraid.

Isolation in “The Red Room” is quite different from “The Monkey’s Paw” because the character is in a castle which has its own grounds, pathways and a very big garden. It says in the text “grand staircase”. This explains that the castle is big and the staircase is huge and that there is more than one. This is typical of a horror story because a castle has many hidden secrets inside it and that can be haunted and anything could be lurking in any of the rooms as well as something arriving or moving around outside or come inside. This adds to the tension immensely because it makes the reader wonder what is so distressing about a room that is said to be haunted and scary and they know that a castle is big and alarming and that many events have taken place there. The settings are similar in a way because they are both set at night as well as being isolated from civilization and that they are also 19th century stories.

The language used in “The Red Room” is archaic which is language that is old. It says in the text “eight-and-twenty years”. Nobody says in the modern world says their age like that so it shows that the language is old. When the narrator first speaks he says “it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me”. The word “tangible” is used and this word is not used that much in the modern world showing that the word is an old word. The author also creates suspense by using repetition for example “It is your own choosing”. The old man uses this type of language and warns the man not to enter the red room. He is leaving the decision to him.

The author has used various terms to portray the old pensioners in the story by calling them “grotesque custodians”, “decaying”, “withered”, “pale” and “wrinkled”. These words are associated with inhuman beings and make the old people appear old. He has also used many metaphors and similes such as “it was like a ragged storm cloud sweeping out the stars”. It describes the feeling of the man being afraid as if a storm was coming towards him to hurt him. He also used “darkness closed upon me like the shutting of an eye, crushed the last vestiges of reason from my brain”. The author has made this sound as if the man is close to death and “crushing the vestiges of my brain” indicates that he is on the verge of losing all of his thoughts.

H.G.Wells has created a sense of chilling atmosphere by using these types of words. These words add to the tension by making the story seem old as well as making it more realistic.

The language in “The Monkey’s Paw” is old fashioned and strange as it says “without the night was cold” or “father and son were at chess”. Normally people would say that it was cold outside and father and son were playing chess. W.W.Jacobs I think has deliberately used old fashioned language to make the story old and weird. Before the character of sergeant-major arrives at the house the atmosphere in the room was calm and soothing as the author used words such as “soothingly” , “hospitable” , “brightly” and “condoled”. It shows that the house was at peace and nothing bad was happening. However when the sergeant-major does arrive the atmosphere is instantly changed as words such as “hastily” , “hush” , “presumptuous” and “magic”. These words tell the reader that what the guest is going to say is not good and that it fills the reader with suspense.

The language is similar because they are both written in old language and powerful vocabulary has been used by each other writers.

The characters in “The Red Room” are the three old people and the young man. The three old people cause the reader to be afraid of them because of their actions and their body features for example “the man with the withered arm”, “the man with the shade” and “her pale eyes wide open”. These show that they are disabled and have problems. They also speak in an unfriendly manner to the man and each other for example “the man with the withered arm gave this newcomer a short glance of dislike” and to the man he says” It’s your own choosing”. They cause the reader to feel that they are terrifying and that they raise the suspense and the tension of the story by warning the man over and over and try to dissuade the man from going into the room e.g. ” this nights of all nights ” trying to make the man feel scared. Even though the reader does not find what is so bad about this night they know that it is a warning.

The old people affect the reader by making the reader feel uncomfortable in why they are unfriendly to each other and the man and they are trying to dissuade the man from going to the red room. The atmosphere they make is frightening “A monstrous shadow of him crouched upon the wall”. This makes the reader feel that the old people are trying to make the man feel scared. The man also describes them as “the three of them made me uncomfortable”. This explains that they are frightening him.

The man describes their way of speech and their clothes as “they seem to belong to a different age” and “an age when things were spiritual were different from this of ours”. He describes their clothes as “the cut of their clothing, fashions born in dead brains”. This explains that their clothing is of an old fashion and they behave like old people of olden times.

The man in The Red Room who is going to stay the night is not afraid of anything. When the man says “it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me” the reader instantly finds out that this man is not afraid of anything and that he is proud and that he believes that he does not believe that ghosts exist.

The way he speaks tells the reader that he is not scared and that he doesn’t believe in ghosts as he says “it’s my own choosing”. The reader then knows that he is confident of going into the red room and also when he say “you will show me this haunted room of yours, I will make myself comfortable there”. The arrogance in this story suggests Hubris. Hubris is exaggerated pride or self-confidence. However that changes when he walks down the passageway to the red room as he says “listening to a rustling”. If he is so confident he shouldn’t care about the rustling of whatever happening so this tells the reader he is afraid in his own way even though he doesn’t show it. He also is afraid when he sees a shadow as it is crouching “I stood rigid for half a minute”. This tells the reader that he is afraid. This adds to the tension because the reader is in suspense about what is going to pop out from the shadows.

He is also shown to be afraid when he enters the room “closed the door behind me at once”. This tells the reader he is afraid. When he is in the room he opens all the curtains and lights candle and the fireplace in the room “I lit it”. This shows that he is afraid of the dark. He starts to get very scared when he notices that all the candles seem to be going out on their own accord “What’s up? I cried, with a queer high note getting into my voice somehow”. This tells the reader that he is indeed petrified of the candles being snuffed out. He then in his confusion trying to light the candles hits his head and then loses consciousness. When he wakes up he is then regretful of his arrogance and this suggest Nemesis. Nemesis is an act of effect or retribution. He has been hit on the head because of his doubts in believing that the red room was not haunted. He then believes that the room is haunted as he says “Yes said I “the room is haunted”.

The characters in “The Monkey’s Paw” are The White Family, Sergeant Major Morris and the business man from Herbert’s Workplace. The White Family lives in an isolated area and do not like it “Path’s a bog and road’s a torrent”. They are at first acknowledged as people who don’t like getting into trouble and are friendly family “father and son were at chess”. When the sergeant major arrives they are eager to listen to his stories outside of the country. This makes the reader to think that they haven’t been out that much anywhere then where they are living. When they hear of the monkey’s paw being able to grant wishes they immediately start laughing and this shows they are arrogant suggesting Hubris “laughter jarred”. They are also arrogant when they jest about what they want to wish for example “Don’t you think you might wish for four pairs of hands for me?” This shows that they disbelieve in the magic. This causes the reader to believe that they are haughty. Then when Mr. White wishes for his wish he then sees faces in the fire and he begins to feel a little bit afraid e.g. “with a little uneasy laugh”. Also when it says “with a little shiver”. This adds to the tension of the story because it makes the reader wonder whether the wish was granted and fills the reader with suspense.

When the business man shows up Mr. and Mrs. White are scared about what has happened to Herbert. When they are told that he was caught in the machinery and when they are then told that the money that they found for his death is �200 they are instantly shocked “put out his hands like a sightless man and dropped a senseless heap to the floor”. This tells the reader that the family that remains now believes that it was the monkey’s paw’s doing. This also suggest Nemesis because they disbelieved in the monkey’s paw they have paid for it.

When one week pass the old man wakes up to find his wife crying by the window and then she suddenly exclaims that they should use the monkey’s paw to bring back Herbert “we’ll have one more”. This makes the reader believe that the woman now definitely believes in the magic of the monkey’s paw. She is blinded by the love of her son that she does not realize the consequences of making the wish “Do you think I fear the child I have nursed”. When she says this the reader wonders what the dead body of Herbert will appear like. Mr. White realizes that when his son will appear it will not be the same person he knew as his son “For God’s sake don’t let it in”. This makes the reader think that he believes in the stories of magic. When his wife rushes out to open the door the reader is eager to know what the thing that is coming into the house looks like. However Mr. White grabs the paw and makes his last wish before she opens the door making the reader feel that he believes in the magic of the monkey’s paw.

Sergeant Major Morris is described as “tall, burly man beady of eye and rubicund of visage”. This tells the reader that he is intimidating. When he enters the house he tells them the story of the monkey’s paw but he also fears for the family’s safety when Mr. White wants the paw example “But I warn you of the consequences”. This tells the reader that he is warning them before hand of the paw’s abilities. When he mentions that he had the three wishes he says it with fear and suspense “I have’ he said quietly and his blotchy face whitened”. This makes the reader feel that the paw has created something bad in this man’s life. This creates tension in the story by making the reader wonder why the man’s face whitened when he mentioned that he had three wishes. When he says that before he came across the paw another man had three wishes and his last one was death “the third was for death”. Also when he says this, the family are silent “his tones were so grave that a hush fell upon the group”. This tells the reader that the sergeant has much to hide about the paw. When Mr. White asks if the sergeant would have another three wishes the sergeant replies “I don’t know” and he repeats this twice.

This causes the reader to think that this man has had a lot of pain from the monkey’s paw in his life. When he throws the monkey’s paw into the fire he warns the family explicitly that if they keep it, it is not the sergeant’s fault if something bad befalls them “If you keep it don’t blame me for what happens ” and “but I warn you of the consequences”. This tells the reader that the sergeant, when he had wished, faced consequences for his wishes and that he warned the family about that they should be careful what they wish for.

The man in “The Red Room” is similar to the family in The Monkey’s Paw because they are both arrogant in believing in the haunting or curse that they are faced with and in they faced many consequences and retribution. The sergeant major and the three old people are similar because they are characters who warn the others of the consequences of their actions.

The Plot is the story in a play, novel or film. The plot affects the novel, film and play because it is the structure of it. The plot builds up the story and keeps it together to make it more interesting and for the reader to understand what it is about. The plot relies on a deadline by making the reader feel more nervous as the story progresses for example when the man in the “Red Room” is walking through the passage to the “Red Room” making the reader fell suspense when he is walking to the room and the time of going to the room is very slow as lots of things happen very slowly when he approaches the room.

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The Red Room and The Monkey's Paw Compare and Contrast
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