Project #1 – Theme Essay on The Monkey’s Paw
The Monkey’s Paw, written by W.W. Jacobs, is a short story about the consequences of messing with fate. Mr. White is a simple man living with his wife, Mrs. White, and his grown son, Herbert. One evening Sergeant-Major Morris, a family friend back from India, visits them and shows them a monkey’s paw he had gotten there, saying that it will grant a man three wishes, but that it was made to prove that when you mess with fate, bad things happen. Even with the warning, Mr. White uses the monkey’s paw to grant his wishes, and soon pays the price. I think the theme of this story is basically, “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”
An obvious part of the story that supports the theme is when Mr. White makes his first wish. At first unsure of what to wish for, Herbert – clearly skeptical of the paw’s magical abilities – suggests to wish for 200 pounds to pay the mortgage. When the next day comes around and the two hundred pounds Mr. White wished for isn’t there, Herbert and Mrs. White are not surprised. Mr. White tells them that people often mistake coincidence for granted wishes. They then go about their day as usual, with Herbert leaving for work and Mr. and Mrs. White staying home. Hours later, a stranger comes knocking at their door to tell the Whites that their son had died in an accident at his work, and gave them 200 pounds as compensation.
Another part supporting the theme is when the second wish of the monkey's paw is made. A week after burying Herbert, Mrs. White wakes her husband in the middle of the night and tells him to use the monkey's paw and wish Herbert back to life. Mr. White is extremely reluctant, but his wife is insistent and he soon gives in and makes the wish. Soon after, they hear knocking on
the door. Mr. White instantly regrets making that wish and – before Mrs. White can open the door – finds the monkey's paw and makes his third and final wish. The knocking stops,...
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