The Monkey’s Paw Literary Analysis Essay

Introduction

It is a common belief that when wishes are made with genuine intentions, they are likely to come true and impact positively on our lives. The monkey’s paw is a short story which was written by Jacobs in 1902, the story involves a family set-up.

On one evening, Mr. and Mrs. White in the company of their son Herbert are relaxing in the parlor. Mrs. White is knitting while Mr. White and Herbert are playing Chess, however Herbert is winning continuously. Sergeant major Morris who is a long time friend visits the family and they share drinks and engage in a conversation.

Sergeant major Morris begins to tell the family about the monkey’s paw origin, and how he possessed it and that it has the ability to grant wishes. The sergeant throws the monkey paw in to the fire; however Mr. White retrieves it, and insists that he would want to possess the paw since the sergeant did not require its services. However, the sergeant warns Mr. White against blaming him for the consequences that will follow if he uses the monkey paw to grant his wishes.

Themes

The author concentrates on the need to be careful concerning wishes, this is because every action has a consequence. Herbert encourages his father to wish for 200 pounds, not long after Herbert leaves for work the following day, his family receives news of his death, after being involved in an accident. Ironically, the company Herbert worked for offers to cater for the funeral expenses, they offer a sum of 200 pounds, the same amount Mr. White had previously wished for.

The theme is applied once again, when Mrs. White begs her husband to make a second wish, which would bring back their son back to life; however Mr. White is convinced that this is a bad idea, following the consequences of his first wish. Nevertheless, he proceeds with his wife’s wish, their son comes back to life, but Mr. White is afraid that their son may come back a different person. Therefore he uses the paw to wish for his son’s death.

Irony is evident throughout this story; the author makes the story interesting to the reader by twisting facts. It is obvious that the reader expects that wishes can be granted especially when the intentions are genuine; however the monkey paw wishes are different and have severe consequences.

As a result, it is evident that there is nothing for free in this story; a price has to be paid, regardless of the level of sincerity. The flow of events in this story is systematic, the setup starts with a humble happy family, and ends with a devastated family.

The author has also utilized metaphors in the story, for instance the fact that the wishes granted by the monkey paw had severe consequences, this means that the deal was too good to be true, therefore Mr. White and his family should have thought through the matter seriously, before making any decisions. Tension is also evident, when Sergeant Morris throws the monkey’s paw in to fire, which symbolizes the Sergeant’s fear and hatred of the paw.

Suspense is evident when Mr. White hears footsteps followed by the knock, readers are tense, and this is because they are unsure of the results. The monkey’s paw is symbolic; in this case it is seen as a savior, however it is mysterious in nature and unpredictable. The author creates excitement to this story by adding suspense and mystery; therefore the readers cannot predict the ending of the story, which makes the story interesting.

Conclusion

The monkey’s paw is an interesting story, which creates suspicion for the readers; the flow of events is systematic which creates quality of the contents of the story. The main lesson learnt from the story is that everything comes at a price, and when the deal is too good, the recipient should think through before making any hasty decisions. However, it is disappointing to learn that Mr. White used all the three wishes with genuine intentions but all the consequences were regrettable.

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