The Monkey’s Paw Literary Response Essay

The short story , The Monkey’s Paw , was a chilling novel about the White family (Mr. White , Mrs. White , Herbert )and how they used a talisman to change there fate , but not for what they had hoped for . The author introduces this story on a cold , wet night which gives a suspensful feeling to the novel at first hand . While the White’s are spending time together in a small parlor, they get a visit from Mr. White’s old friend , sergeant Major Morris .

One major element W.W Jacobs portrays is foreshadowing. Of the characters, the author uses Major Morris the most to foreshadow the events that may occur later on in the novel .

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While Major Morris is visiting , Mr. White asks him to resume telling the tale of a monkey’s paw , but the sergeant seemed reluctant to do so . He also stated “Leastways nothing worth hearing . ” With this statement , you can infer that for some reason Major Morris did not want to tell the story .

The family became more curious . Eventually he gave in and began telling the tale .

Major Morris pulled a dried up monkey’s paw out of his pocket . He said that an old fakir put a curse upon the paw which enabled it to grant 3 wishes. This curse was used to prove a point that fate controls people’s lives and that one’s self should not try to change their fate or there would be harsh consequences . Major Morris said he was granted 3 wishes himself and also knew of another man who used the monkey’s paw . He said that he didn’t know the mans first two wishes but he did know his last wish was for death . This foreshadows that the monkey’s paw can easily be the down fall of a person .

As Major Morris continued , he said he did not want the paw to cause anymore harm so he threw the paw in the fire. Mr. White saved the paw because he was still curious . The sergeant warned him a couple times but finally explained how to wish upon the paw. The family joked about the talisman and wished for two hundred pounds in a sarcastic manor . The next day a stranger delivered news that their son Herbert had died in an accident at his job . The stranger gave the White’s two hundred pounds as compensation , just like they had wished for.

They then jumped to the conclusion that the talisman must have magic powers. Weeks later Mrs. forced Mr. White to wish Herbert back to life . When he does so , there was a knock at the door and Mrs. White scurried to the door. Mr. White realized that if he did not do something fast , the situation would get really ugly , so he made his final wish before his wife could reach the door . Mrs. White opened the door but no one was to be found .

All in all , the author potrayed suspense and foreshadowing with the use of Major Morris, the history of the talisman , and events in the novel. Major Morris warned the White’s of the abilities of the monkey’s paw. The family did not listen, and wished for an unnecessary two hundred pounds which they did not need but when they recieved the compensation for Herbert’s death , they believed it right away. This proves that the old fakir was right when he said fate controls people’s lives and that if one’s self should try to change their fate , their would be consequences. In the end, the White’s caused the loss of their own son by trying to change their fate.

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