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Review Of The Monkey’s Paw By W. W. Jacobs

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The Monkey’s Paw is a story of suspense. The setting of “The Monkey’s Paw” is at the White family home on a dark, rainy evening. The White family is waiting for an old friend of Mr. Whites who is named Sergeant-Major Morris. Morris arrives after returning from India. He has brought a monkey’s paw with him. He tells the Whites that the monkey’s paw is said to be able to grant three wishes to its owner. At Mr. and Mrs. Whites’ urging, Sergeant-Major Morris takes a small, mummified paw out of his pocket. He explains “It had a spell put on it by an old fakir,” said Morris, “A very holy man, he put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it.” They all think a holy man could not do something that would cause a bad outcome. 

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According to the sergeant-major, three men can wish on the paw three times each. The sergeant-major himself has already had his three wishes, as has another man. Morris tells the Whites ‘Fate rules people’s lives and those who interfere with fate do so to their sorrow.’ The message is a warning, but Mr. White doesn’t believe it. The sergeant-major has considered selling the paw, but he doesn’t want it to cause any more trouble than it already has. Moreover, no one will buy the paw without first seeing proof of its effect. The sergeant-major throws the paw into the fire, and Mr. White quickly rescues it. The sergeant-major warns him three times to leave the paw alone, but he eventually explains how to make a wish on the paw. Mr. White says he has everything he wants and isn’t sure what to wish for. Herbert says that two hundred pounds would allow them to pay off the money owed for the house. Mr. White wishes. Mr. White suddenly cries out and says that the paw moved like a snake in his hand. After Mr. and Mrs. White go to bed, Herbert sits by the fire and sees a vividly realistic monkey face in the flames. He puts out the fire, takes the monkey’s paw, and goes to bed. 

The next day the room seems cheerful and normal in contrast to the previous evening’s gloomy feeling and the mummified paw now looks harmless. Mrs. White comments on how ridiculous the sergeant-major’s story was but remarks that two hundred pounds couldn’t do any harm. Mr. White makes a wish for 200 pounds only to find that he receives the money when Herbert dies in a factory accident. According to the fakir, then, because Mr. White had wished for something he should not have had, his son lost his life. The second wish that Mrs. White encourages him to make is for Herbert’s return – one week after his death. When the strange knocking begins at the door during the windy night, Mr. White panics, believing that the previously dead but still mangled Herbert could have walked home from the cometary and is now at the door. Because he fears what his wife will find if she opens the door, Mr. White makes his third wish – for the noise to stop. Therefore, he uses his three wishes and to his sorrow, loses his son and disappoints his wife, who believed that their son was at the door. She wanted him back, regardless of his condition.

In conclusion, the Monkey’s Paw story left you with a feeling of no answer for the White’s. They were sad because they lost their son, but when they wished for him back they new it wouldn’t be the same as before, so Mr. White wished him to be dead again. Mrs. White wanted her son back no matter what. They never received anything that made them happy from their wishes. 

09 March 2021

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