The story was also very popular with readers. Like O. Henry, Jacobs was famous during his lifetime for writing a particular type of story rather than for any particular work. Similar to O. Henry’s stories, Jacobs’ tales are tightly constructed, humorous stories that usually revolve around simple surprise-ending plots Many of his stories are set on the waterfronts and docks of London, which Jacobs knew from his own childhood. In addition to humor, Jacobs explored the macabre in several of his tales. “The Monkey’s Paw” is probably the best example of this.
The story opens with the White family spending a cozy evening together around the hearth. An old friend of Mr. White’s comes to visit them. Sergeant-Major Morris, home after more than twenty years in India, entertains his hosts with exotic stories of life abroad. He also sells to Mr. White a mummified monkey’s paw, said to have had a spell put on it by a holy man that will grant its owner three wishes. Morris warns the Whites not to wish on it at all”but of course they do, with horrible consequences.
Jacobs uses foreshadowing, imagery and symbolism in this story to explore the consequences of tempting fate. His careful, economical creation of setting and atmosphere add suspense to the tale, while his use of ialogue and slang (another Jacobs trademark) help readers to feel that the characters are genuine. Themes Sergeant-Major Morris’s remark that the monkey’s paw is intended to show people that fate rules their lives and that it is unwise to interfere with it is true. Judging by the sergeant-major’s testimony, both he and the first owner of the paw have chosen badly. When Mrs.
White jokingly suggests, as she sets the table, that her husband might wish for three extra pairs of hands for her, Morris forcefully points out to Mr. White that if he must wish, he should wish for something sensible. Despite the fact that he does so, fate exacts a terrible retribution. The magnitude of this retribution is difficult to account for in conventional terms. After all, Mr. White wishes for a relatively insignificant sum of money and with little enthusiasm; he is far from being a greedy man. Traditional ghost stories tend to establish a comfortable balance between mortal transgression and supernatural retribution. The Monkeys Paw,” on the other hand, suggests that fate, whatever meaning one chooses to read into the word, operates beyond such familiar concepts as fairness and justice. The author efrains from comment, but his opening and closing scenes”a night “cold and wet” and a road “quiet and deserted””suggest that humans may be at the mercy of an indifferent, if not actually malevolent, universe. It is these suggestions that render “The Monkey’s Paw’ so chilling. Summary One rainy evening, Mr. and Mrs. White and their son, Herbert, wait at their home, Laburnum Villa, for a visitor who knew Mr.
White before going to India as a soldier twenty-one years earlier. When Sergeant-Major Morris arrives, the Whites serve him whiskey and seat him before the fire as he relates his experiences in he exotic British territory. Eventually Mr. White returned to the subject of the monkeys paw that Morris mentioned earlier, but the old soldier tries to put him off, which only excites the family’s curiosity. The sergeant-major produces the little mummified paw from his pocket, remarking that it had a spell cast on it by an Indian holy man who wanted to illustrate that those who interfere with fate do so to their sorrow.
The spell would allow three men each to have three wishes from it. When Herbert asks him why he does not take three wishes himself, the sergeant-major responds soberly that he has. He adds that the first man had had his wishes as well, that the third was for death, and the paw thus had passed on to him. With this explanation, he throws it into the fire. As Mr. White retrieves the paw from the coals, the sergeant-major tells him that he does so at his own peril but reluctantly explains the appropriate manner for making the wishes. Dinner then follows.
After their guest leaves, the Whites discuss the paw. After some thought, Mr. White remarks that he has everything he wants and is unsure what to ask for…. Characters Father See Mr. White Morris See Sergeant-Major Morris Sergeant-Major Morris Sergeant-Major Morris is the catalyst for the story: he brings the monkey’s paw to the Whites’ home. He is “a tall, burly man, beady of eye and rubicund of visage,” whose eyes get brighter after his third glass of whiskey at the Whites’ hearth. Morris is both familiar and exotic. Morris and Mr. White began their lives in approximately the same way, Mr.
White remembers his friend as “a slip of a youth in the warehouse,” But in his twenty-one years of travel and soldiering, Morris has seen the world and has brought back tales of “wild scenes and doughty deeds; of wars and plagues and strange peoples. Morris also carries with him the monkey’s paw, which changes all the Whites’ lives forever. Mother See Mrs. White The Other See The Stranger The Stranger The last character to appear in “The Monkey’s Paw” has no name. He is the messenger of death” the company representative sent to tell Herbert’s parents about the death of their son in a terrible accident at work.
On one level, Jacobs paints a realistic portrait of this man; Mrs. White notes that he is well dressed, and that he seems very nervous, hesitating at their gate, and picking lint from his clothes before he delivers his horrible news. However, on another level, the writer keeps this character… Analysis The mystery of the Monkeys Paw is a cleverly thought out short story. This story had three main parts. These parts were the first wish, the second wish, and the third wish. The first wish was the only tragic wish that was granted. Mr.
White, his son Herbert, and an old man were sitting around playing chess. There was a knock at the door and Mr. White answered it to let the man in. His name was Sergeant-Major Morris. He sat down in the seat nearest the fire, and after several glasses of whiskey he began to talk. He talked about some of his war experiences, and then of India. His last story was about a magical mummified monkey’s paw. The sergeant-major tells the family that the old dried out monkey’s paw has a spell put on it by an old fakir. The story continues and then Mr. White and the sergeant-major trade.
Later Mr. White wishes for 200 pounds. A man comes and visits the Whites telling them that their son Herbert had been killed, and then he gibes them 200 pounds. The consequence of Mr. Whites first wish is the main reason he uses a second and third wish. Mr. White did not want to use a second ish but his wife insisted that they wish their son back to life. Mr. White wishes his son back to life, but nothing happens so they go to sleep. They are sleeping when they hear a knocking sound at their front door. Mrs. White goes downstairs to answer the door even though Mr.
White told her not to answer the door. Mrs. White approached the door while Mr. White looked for the monkeys paw. At the very moment Mr. White unlocked the door Mr. White found the monkey’s paw and made his third and final wish. Just as he made his wish the knocking stopped, and his wife opened the door. What was the last wish? The author never really says, but one can assume that he wished he had never made his second wish. The end of the story is open and leaves you to come up with an end of your own. In conclusion, the story line was well written and cleverly thought out.
With the three wishes as the main parts of the story; the author was able to lead you one way and then suddenly change direction. I think that using a monkey’s paw instead of a lamp was creative, and that people appreciate something different every now and then. A Brief Summary of “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs y Steven J. Miller, Demand Media Share RSS Print Email “The Monkey’s Paw” is an allegory of the determination to achieve wants and desires through simple and unethical means written in 1901 by William Wymark Jacobs. The characters in the story are provided with easy methods of achieving what they wish for.
However, each person who takes the easy way to success suffers greatly. Learning to accept what comes to us and work through our issues, rather than looking for a quick fix, constitutes the essential premise of this book. The moral of the story is that there is a price for everything, and ometimes, that price is steeper than initially expected. Sponsored Link IBM Performance Mgmt Book Download Your Copy of the IBM eBook For Performance Management Now! IBM. com/Cognos_free_book Sergeant Morris Sergeant Morris is an old friend of John White and his family.
The story begins with Morris’ return home after spending many years in India. When Morris arrives, he provides a brief account of his adventures and sets the stage for the developing storyline. Mr. White shows extreme interest in the stories of Sergeant Morris and is enthralled with his accounts. The setting of India is relevant, as it rovides an air of mystery and creates a feeling of surrealism and exoticism. The Monkey’s Paw While Morris discusses his adventures in India, the reader learns that he has returned with a mummified monkey’s paw.
The paw has an unusual ability to bring three wishes each to three men. The original owner used his three wishes and upon coming to his final wish, he wished for death. Morris also used three wishes, which left the possibility of one more man being granted three wishes. He warns the family that the wishes always end in disaster. Morris seems intent on destroying the paw and throws it in the fire to burn. Mr. White retrieves the paw from the fire and forces Sergeant Morris to accept a small payment for the paw. First Wish Mr. White’s son ridicules the idea that a paw could bring someone three wishes.
However, he taunts his father and asks him to wish for $25,000. Mr. White makes the wish and Herbert, his son, goes off to work. In the morning, when the Whites are preparing breakfast, a man from Herbert’s work comes to the door. He informs the family that Herbert has been killed and they are the beneficiaries of a $25,000 insurance policy. Final Wishes The Whites bury their son and the mother requests for her husband to use one f the last two wishes to bring her son back from the dead. That night, there is a pounding on the front door, but the door has been locked tight. Mr.
White’s wife rushes to the door, believing that her son has come back. Mr. White, realizing that the monkey’s paw provides wishes that only end in disaster uses the final wish to send his son back to the grave and to rest in peace. The knocking immediately stops. themes The Danger of Wishing The Whites’ downfall comes as the result of wishing for more than what they actually needed. Even though Mr. White feels content with his life”he has a appy family, a comfortable home, and plenty of love”he nevertheless uses the monkeys paw to wish for money that he doesn’t really need.
As Jacobs suggests, making one seemingly harmless wish only intensifies and magnifies desire as each subsequent wish becomes more outlandish. After receiving two hundred pounds for Herbert’s death, for example, Mrs. White jumps to the conclusion that the paw has unlimited power. She forces Mr. White to wish to bring Herbert back to life, a wish far more serious than their first. Unchecked greed, therefore, only leads to unhappiness, no matter how much more one asks for.
Intense desire also often leads to unfulfilled expectations or unintended consequences as with Herbert’s unexpected death and rise from the grave as a living corpse. Put simply, Jacobs is reminding readers to be careful what they wish for because it may just come true. The Clash between Domesticity and the Outside World Jacobs depicts the Whites’ home and domestic sphere in general as a safe, cozy place separate from the dangerous world outside. The Whites’ house is full of symbols of happy domesticity: a piano, knitting, a copper kettle, a chessboard, a fireplace, and a breakfast table.
But the Whites repeatedly invite trouble into this cozy world. Sergeant-Major Morris”a family friend, seasoned veteran, and world traveler”disrupts the tranquility in the Whites’ home with his stories of India and magic and warnings of evil. He gives Mr. White the monkey’s paw, the ultimate token of the dangerous outside world. Mr. and Mrs. White mar the healthy atmosphere of their home again when they invite the Maw and Meggins representative inside, a man who shatters their happiness with news of Herbert’s death. The final would-be invader of the domestic world is Herbert himself.