A suspenseful and horrific piece of literature, “The Monkey Paw” is written by W.W Jacobs. A quaint family of three receives an unusual monkey paw that is capable of making any three wishes come true. Despite the caveat of a curse attached to the paw, the family chooses to make a wish, evoking from the story a suspenseful attitude as the reader becomes wrapped up in finding out the Smiths’ fated ends. With the combination of W.W Jacobs’ settings, characters, and foreshadowing, the theme of the story, “that fate cannot be decided upon by man” is delivered pointedly and with style.
The Smiths are a typical family, one we could see anywhere in life—a family that any of us could be a part of. Neither the father, nor the mother, nor the son has any unusual desires or relationships. In fact, the only wish they could think of is for two hundred pounds, a sum to pay off their house. This is a logical wish, neither unreasonable nor underhanded. By creating wishes and characters that seem familiar to the reader, Jacobs, makes it effortless for the reader to sink into the story and relate to it. Even the setting, a house in the city, is easy enough to relate too. But more than just using a house for relating purposes, a home is a place of safety and comfort in our minds. The horrific consequences occur in the Smith’s home, give the reader an extra edge of anxiety to the story since most do not imagine that actual terrors invade the places we consider ourselves safest. In the beginning, there are references to India and the jungle. Through the subtle references, faint images of savage lands and untamed nature manifest, as do the fears that come with them. By having the events take place at a normal, family home, the savage lands seem to invade civilization and taint that safety people have created there. The rough and untamed lands are places where we can expect horrific things to happen, but we never expect these things to happen in our own