The Monkey's Paw By Wymark Jacobs

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William Wymark Jacobs was a short story author. His most popular work was “The Monkey’s Paw.” The story starts off on a dark, stormy night with Mr. White and his son, Herbert White playing chess, while Mrs. White was knitting by the fire. Sargeant-Major Morris arrives at the White’s house and he tells his life story of him being the army for twenty-one years in India. He shows them this monkey’s paw that will grant three wishes to three different people, but whoever wishes on it will be hurt in the end. As Sargeant-Major tries to throw it into the fire, Mr. White snaps it out of the air and wishes for two hundred pounds. The next morning Herbert goes to work, but is killed in a machinery accident and the company gives his family two hundred…show more content…
Jacobs uses the monkey’s paw to symbolize greed, evil, and revenge. It shows greediness because the Whites’ desire nothing and already have everything they need in life, but they still want to wish for something just to see if it is actually dangerous, like Sargeant-Major says it is. After the death of Herbert, the monkey’s paw can represent evilness. The paw is what caused Herbert to die, therefore nothing good could came from it. Also, the monkey who lost its paw could want revenge on whoever would have his paw afterward. Therefore causing a cast of evil to whoever wishes upon it. The monkey’s paw is associated with a negative connotation, but it also comes in sets of…show more content…
People associate bad luck in sets of three. A Daily News Staff Writer, Jenice M. Armstrong said, “Folklorists say the belief that good or bad things come in threes is an ancient superstition that remains a strong modern belief.” The number three has also been a considered a holy number and it appears frequently in the short story. On the monkey’s paw three different people are allowed to have three wishes on it. The first owner of the monkey paw used is wish for death, the second was Sargeant-Major, and the third is Mr. White. Also, the White family consist of three people, Mr. White, Mrs. White, and Herbert. When Sargeant-Major arrives to the Whites’ house, he drinks three glasses of whiskey before talking about his life in India. Once Mr. White gets ahold of the monkey’s paw, Sargeant-Major begs him a total of three times to not make a wish on the monkey’s paw, in which he did not listen. Later in the story, Mrs. White asks her husband three times to wish for Herbert to be alive again. When her son does come to the door it took him three knocks before Mrs. White heard him. Not only is a majority of the story’s plot revolved around the number three, but the story is also set up into three different parts. The number three in this story represents bad luck, but the game of chess represents the risk of one’s

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