The River

W.W. Jacobs’ ;The Monkey’s Paw&laquo is typical with respect to the way in which it establishes its fantastic ambivalence: all the essential events may be interpreted as belonging to either the natural or the supernatural order, and it is impossible to be certain about the interpretation. »The Monkey’s Paw may almost be regarded as the archetypal fantastic tale. The monkey’s paw is invested with a specific ambiguity as a natural-supernatural object: it may or it may not possess the powers claimed for it by Sergeant-Major Morris. Anyway, the paw is a pawn in a cruel game of life and death comparable to the game of chess played by father and son at the beginning. The monkey’s paw is associated with the Orient (India) and thus with an alien culture, a culture where the belief in magic is presumably stronger than in Europe where the action of the story takes place. The story seems to ;prove that you cannot dismiss magic altogether, but the evidence of its reality is doubtful. Mr. White thinks the paw moves when he pronounces hisfirst wish, the wish seems to be fulfilled when the elderly couple get two hundred pounds as ;compensation for their son’s death, and the knocking on the door at the end may or may not be their son’s knocking after he has returned from the grave (nobody sees him).
The “Plot”A couple and their son are visited by a family friend, a soldier who has just returned from India. He shows them a monkey’s paw which, it is claimed, has the power to grant three wishes but always ends up causing ill fortune. Against the soldier’s wishes, the father decides to keep the paw and wishes that he would receive two hundred pounds. The sum arrives the next day as compensation after his son is killed in an industrial accident. Weeks later, the mother decides to wish to bring the son back to life – with horrific results;

In “The Monkey’s Paw,” what evidence of foreshadowing is given i…

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