August, 27th 2012
Summary of “The Monkey’s Paw,” by W.W. Jacobs
“The Monkey’s Paw,” by W.W. Jacobs, is a chilling macabre short story written in third-person narrative. This is a heart wrenching story that examines the unrelenting depth of a mothers love while teaching the reader, that trying to get things in life that weren’t meant to be, can have unexpected and tragic consequences.
The story begins with the White family enjoying a quiet evening by the fire on a cold winter’s night awaiting the arrival of the elder Mr. White’s friend Sergeant Major Morris. The family is unaware that with the Sergeants arrival their lives will be forever altered.
When Sergeant Major Morris arrives the family welcomes him into their home. Mr. White begins to inquire about a monkey’s paw that the Sargent had previously told him about. The Sergeant does not want to talk about the paw, but in answer to Mrs. White’s pleas, he tells the story of an Indian Holy man who cast a spell upon the Monkey’s Paw that grants three wishes to its owner as it has done for him. Suddenly, he throws it in the fire. Confused Mr. White pulls the paw out of the fire and tells Morris he will keep it. Morris pleads with him to put it back into the fire, but Mr. White is intent on keeping the paw. Before saying his goodbyes the worried Sergeant warns them that if they do wish on the paw to think carefully and do so wisely.
The family decides to wish for two hundred pounds to pay off their home. When nothing happens by breakfast the next morning, they are all convinced that Mr. Morris was just passing away a winter’s evening with an entertaining tall tale. Feeling foolish about such wishful thinking and laughing about the idea of cursed paw Herbert leaves for work. His parents will soon learn that their wish has been granted but the price is more than they wanted to pay....
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