The story is a horror and mysterious tale of fate, magic and human frailties like greed, etc. It is set in the backdrop of the early 20th Century and speaks about places like British occupied India and England.
The Whites live in England whereas Morris is a journeyman who has been to places like the Indian subcontinent etc. The mood of the story is ominous and mysterious with a foreboding of something devastating and tragic.
The setting also delivers the authentic nature of British society at the time while the empire rules most of the world as a matter of right. The sense of wonder and awe that the characters have toward the exotic stories and sights of India does accurately reflect the notions of the time.
The story is primarily played out in the house which seems to be in a deserted location. The events and action mostly play out at night however, there is a spell of the day when the Whites learn about the demise of their son.
The writer has further set a tone of eerie suspense with sounds of loud banging on the door and images of empty and dark streets as well as terrifying images of money like creatures in the fire.
The sense of trepidation is also enhanced by the sense of fear and suspicion in the voice of the characters. The only character that lacks an air of fear is Herbert who ends up being butchered to a terrible death in a work accident.
The writer is successful in maintaining a sense of horror and suspense till the very end by never revealing the truth of the final visitor at the door and by not disclosing the third wish of Mr. White (the last one that the paw could grant according to its legend).