Historical Context in The Monkey's Paw
The British Empire in Asia: In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the British Empire was expansive, stretching across various continents and encompassing hundreds of millions of inhabitants. The growth of the empire’s East India Company, which transported various natural resources, textiles, and opium from the company’s base back to Europe, spurred colonial monopoly in the area. British travels to Asia, both military and commercial, became more frequent, and returnees often brought back tall tales with which to regale their friends. Because of a lack of cultural understanding or sensitivity, many British travellers were fascinated by what they perceived as “exotic” East Asia, leading to a superstitious view of artifacts and people from the region.
Automation in the Second Industrial Revolution: Beginning in the late 19th century, Britain underwent another major shift in industrial production following its previous period of progress in the late 17th through mid-18th centuries. The most prominent development was that of increased automation in factories. Although the use of heavy machinery increased, it would take some time before workers’ safety was sufficiently account for, making factory work an often dangerous experience. The quick and efficient manufacture of goods allowed Great Britain to further cement themselves as a global economic powerhouse.