“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs Essay
“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs
Setting: The main setting of “The Monkey’s Paw” would be stationed around the Laburnam Villa, the White family home. We enter the story by the weather being dark and stormy, but as soon as we walk into the Villa, it’s immediately warm and comfortable. As the story progresses deeper, the Villa becomes more haunting and progressively darker. After Herbert dies, the house is completely thick with silence.
Point of view: This story is told in third person omniscient. The narrator is able to minimally describe the events that occur in the household and make remarks or comments upon them, but they never truly engage themselves in the action. We’re able to know the bigger picture of the story and also take a look at the thought of all the characters. On top of this, the narrator gives us just enough information, so that we’re left to piecing all the parts together.
Character: The main characters of this story would be the members of the White family. Herbert White is the character who essentially changes the most throughout the story. He starts as this gentle young, who takes care of his parents at their old age, man to this frightening monster. Mr. and Mrs. White also go through a transformation from loving parents to parents who just lost their son.
Mrs. White almost drives herself mad over the death, changing her from a strong female part to a wilting and weeping character. As for Mr. White, he sort of blames himself for his son’s death as he stirred up trouble with the monkey paw in the first place. He seems to be a strong character, as shown through the very last monkey paw wish and he wished the visitor away a he knew that evil was waiting for the married couple outside of the door.
Conflict: The main conflict in the story is when Mr. White initially is debating on whether to make the wish or not. Although his mentality was more of a just to see what it would do, it led to horrible consequences. Drunk Sergeant-Major Morris visits the Villa and tells the tale of the magical monkey paw that could supposedly change the fate of people. Morris then warns the Whites that you don’t always get what you wished for, the wishes have bad consequences that await them. Mr. White however, for some reason he wanted to challenge fate and made a wish on the paw anyways. He later dealt with the repercussions of his actions, as he received his 200 pounds as compensation for his son’s death.
Figurative language: The paw itself is a symbol, perhaps symbolizing guilt. Herbert’s freak accident could have happened at any time and the amount of compensation received could have just been a standard amount or just a coincidence. The Whites used the paw as a way of putting their guilt towards something. They believe that because of the wish they made on the paw, they blame themselves for somehow directly being related to their son’s death.
Theme: The theme presented in the story surrounds the danger in determining your fate and wishing for it. Mr. White’s major downfall was due to him wanting and wishing more than he needed. Instead of earning those 200 pounds, he wanted to wish for something that he doesn’t even really need. Be careful what you wish for, because it just might come true.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 17 February 2017
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