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Dominique Kelley Case

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Dominique Kelley Jr.

English 10-3rd.


Mr. Reed

Literary Analysis

Short Story/Fiction

Paw of Misfortune

W.W. Jacobs's short story "The Monkey's Paw" presents the audience with an opening scene of a gloomy England night. The narrator provides a gaze into a family in a mysterious opening such as several other famous fictional stories including Sherlock Holmes and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The setting of The Monkey's Paw is crucial to the reader's understanding of the Whites on going misfortune to evolve. Even though, Mr. White and his family are visited by an old friend, Sergeant-Major Morris, they are more curious and eager to learn about the monkey's paw than the price magic will bring. Although, Mr. White is the central character in the story, Jacobs seems to invest as much effort in describing the price of the monkey's paw as he does Mr. White. The title, after all, is not "Mr. White's Three Wishes" or "A Night with The Whites" but "The Monkey's Paw." The monkey paw is the antagonist of the story and plays a role that is as import as the Whites.

Although to keep in mind the most of the catching parts to this short story/fiction is involving the main ideas of this story starting when Mr. Jacobs introduced us to the harsh condition of the weather in the Monkey's Paw. However, the Monkey's Paw involves a sustained relationship, between Mr. White, Mrs. White and Herbert White, which is briefly changed in the beginning of the monkey's paw when Sergeant Major Morris brings a monkey's paw to the White's resident which will do unthinkable things that changes the events in their lives forever. While Sergeant-Major Morris and Mr. White chat, a follow up question about the monkey paw arose when Mr. White said, "What was that you started telling me the other day about a monkey's paw or something, Morris?" (Jacobs, 1906) Sergeant-Major Morris's attitude towards discussing the monkey's paw once approached by Mr. White is obscure, problematic, and disquieting especially since Morris brought the monkey's paw subject up to Mr. White in a previous conversation yet now he tends to be disconnected from the thought of addressing the monkey's paw.

The curiosity then rises when Mr. White's wife and son become curiously interested in this monkey paw Mr. White spoke of. "His manner was so impressive that his hearers were conscious that their light laughter jarred somewhat... The Whites were so intrigued and infatuated with this magical talisman that Mr. White took the monkey's paw from Morris since it was considered to be no use to him any longer. The Whites were so anxious to use the magical properties, which they didn't keep in mind that Morris stated "If you must wish...wish or something sensible." Before White makes his first wish, him and his family joke and discuss what and what not to wish for. Mr. White finally chooses to cast his first wish for money, two hundred pounds. Mr. White instantly becomes infuriated once the money isn't automatically dropped down from thin air after he makes his first, but he will soon receive his first wish with a steep price to pay.

The very next day, takes in a more joyful and normal day compared to the last night's dark and gloomy setting. The Whites now feel that the monkey's paw is just an urban legend and has no such powers that Sergeant Morris spoke of. That evening, Mrs. White notices a stranger nicely dressed man. The stranger hesitantly approaches their gate three times before opening it and coming up to the door. Mrs. White ushers him in. He nervously states that he is a representative of Maw and Meggins, Herbert's employer. Mrs. White asks whether Herbert is all right, and the representative says he is hurt, but in no pain. For a moment, Mrs. White feels relieved, until she realizes that Herbert feels no pain because he's dead. The representative says that Herbert was "caught in the machinery." After a pause, Mr. White says that Herbert was the only child they had left. The rep then explains to the Mr. and Mrs. That the company will compensate them for Herbert's death. Herbert's employers gave his parents two hundred pounds. The two hundred exact pounds that Mr. White made his first wish for. In shock, Mrs. White cries out and Mr. White collapses.

A week after the Whites bury their beloved son Mr. White wakes up and hears his wife crying by the window. He gently urges her to come back to bed, but she refuses. He dozes off again until Mrs. White suddenly cries out that she wants the monkey's paw. In hysterics, she tells him to go downstairs and wish Herbert back



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