Literary Analysis of the Monkey's Paw

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  • Topic: Wish, The Monkey's Paw, W. W. Jacobs
  • Pages : 2 (754 words )
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  • Published : October 3, 2012
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Literary Analysis of The Monkey’s Paw

The story begins on a rainy evening with Mrs. White, Mr. White, and their son Herbert gathered in the parlor. Mrs. White is sitting in her chair knitting as she looks on as her husband is losing to Herbert in a game of chess. From the inside, Mr. White can hear the footsteps of someone walking along their walkway and onto their porch. Mr. White immediately gets up to answer the door and is happy to see his longtime friend Sergeant-major Morris. Mr. White introduces Sergeant-major Morris to his wife and son and invites him into the parlor where they could have drinks. After a couple of drinks, Sergeant-major Morris begins entertaining the family about his adventures in India, when Mr. White interrupts him about a story he was telling him about a monkey's paw. Sergeant-major Morris tried to avoid the conversation, but with intrigue from the others, against his better judgment Sergeant-major Morris begins to tell the family about the monkey's paw's origins and how it came into his possession. After debating about whether the monkey paw has the ability to grant wishes, Sergeant-major Morris throws the monkey's paw into the fire. Mr. White quickly retrieves it from the fire and tells his friend since he has made his three wishes and doesn't want it anymore, it would better serve him instead. Sergeant-major Morris tries to reason with Mr. White and tells him to throw the monkey's paw back into the fire, but Mr. White doesn't listen and in the end Sergeant-major Morris tells him not to blame him for the consequences that will follow if he wishes on the monkey's paw.

W.W. Jacobs runs with two themes: be careful what you wish for and you can't get something for nothing. Jacobs illustrates both themes when Herbert urges his father to wish for two hundred pounds. Everything seems to be going fine the next day until Herbert leaves for work. Not long after he is gone, a strange man comes to their house and informs Mr. and Mrs. White...
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