The Monkey's Paw
The Presentation of Human Nature in The Monkey’s Paw, a Short Story by W.W. Jacobs
Numerous authors around the world have depicted human nature as ways in which people think, feel and act. W.W. Jacobs, in his short story, “The Monkey’s Paw” paints a rather negative picture about human nature. He portrays a family which falls under a spell cast by an old fakir, causing the members to be succumbed to temptations caused by the monkey’s paw. The monkey’s paw is supposedly known to provide three wishes for three individuals, granting wishes that would soon turn into tragic sorrows and also helping people to realize that fate often determines human life. Throughout this short story, W.W. Jacobs defines human nature as one that is filled with greed, selfish thoughts and ungrateful attitudes.
W.W. Jacobs suggests that humans are naturally filled with greed. In this story, he describes Mr. White as someone who desperately desired to pile up his possessions. As a result, Mr. White’s greed coveted Sergeant-Major Morris’ talisman, the monkey’s paw. For example, “‘If you don’t want it, Morris,” said the other, “give it to me.’” Mr. White had revealed his overly excessive greed when saying this even after the paw was thrown upon fire. In addition, the author also portrays how Mr. White was not content with all the money and belongings that he already had in his possession. “‘I wish for two hundred pounds,” said the old man distinctly.” This was the wish that he made when he was already well off. Finally, the author also displays the White family’s intense craving for power. In the story, Herbert encourages his father to wish to bring kingly power upon themselves by saying, “Why, we’re going to be rich, and famous, and happy. Wish to be an emperor, Father,”
The author also claims that human beings are filled with selfish thoughts. He reveals the White family as people who were not patient when it came to increasing their wealth. He makes this point when he writes, “‘Well, wish for two hundred pounds, then; that’ll just do it.’” W.W. Jacobs points out that the White family was obsessed about elaborating on their personal riches. Therefore, the family could have owned everything in the world yet they would not have enough to be satisfied with what they had. Also, the author shows how the White family was not at all bothered by the fact that the talisman might be cursed and how they might suffer from the deadly consequences when they first received the monkey’s paw from Sergeant-Major Morris. Their overall one and only concern was if the monkey’s paw was actually able to grant their wishes.
W.W. Jacobs also believes that people are excellent examples of ungrateful attitudes. The author expresses this human nature through Mr. White who was in general, a well-off man. Although he was particularly fortunate compared to most people, Mr. White was ungrateful about his living conditions saying, “‘of all the beastly, slushy, out-of-the-way places to live in, this is the worst, pathway’s a bog, and the road’s a torrent.’” The author also demonstrates the ungrateful mindset of the son, Herbert White. The son had a pleasant life and even a job, however he still managed to display an ungrateful attitude in, “‘Well, I don’t see the money,” said his son, as he picked it up and placed it on the table, “and I bet I never shall.’” Lastly, the author displays the ungrateful attitudes of the couple. Instead of being grateful of their present fate and all that still remained, they still considered their other two wishes which is illustrated in, “‘Think of what?’ he questioned. ‘The other two wishes,’ she replied rapidly. ‘We’ve only had one.’”
Overall, W.W. Jacobs illustrates human nature as one that is filled with greed, selfish thoughts and ungrateful attitudes. The author successfully exhibits these human natures using the White family. These natures can be seen in their greed for more money and power, their selfish thoughts that only cared for living a prosperous life and ungrateful attitudes for the things that they already had. Nevertheless, W.W. Jacobs’ negative notion on human nature can be seen not only in these characters, but also in the reality as well.
The Consequences of Greed in The Monkey’s Paw, a Short Story by W.W. Jacob
The Monkey’s Paw
In what ways does the character in the story experience and overcome conflicts? Use specific references from the text to support your response.
Being greedy can bring up unwanted and dangerous consequences, as the main character Mr White finds out in “The Monkey’s Paw”. “The Monkey’s Paw,” by W.W. Jacob is a short story that tells about the White family and their supernatural encounter with the monkey’s paw. Throughout the narration, Mr White faces many obstacles but overcomes them because of his bravery and determination.
At the beginning, The White family receives a visit from an old friend Sergeant-Major Morris. Mr Morris came to their house to show the magical monkey’s paw that can make three wishes of its owner a reality but the price can be too high. After explaining, he threw it into the fire, but Mr White fetched it from the flames and kept it to himself. Once their visitor left, and Mr White’s wife and son went to bed, he was left alone. While he was staring at the fire, the faces started to materialise among the flames. One of the faces looked so monkey-like, it was almost amusing. When he realised he was still holding the monkey’s paw, he quickly put it down and, with a little shiver, wiped his hand on his coat.” This was his first supernatural experience with the paw. However, he was determined to receive his three wishes, so he shrugs off the supernatural encounter. That is his way to overcome the conflict.
Close to the climax of the story, Mr And Mrs White hear a knock on the door. The visitor turns out to be a man from the place where their son works, who bears the news of their son’s death. As a compensation from the company, the man delivers two hundred pounds, which is what Mr White had asked for making his first wish. After a week has passed, Mrs White remembered about the magic talisman and told her husband to wish for their son to come back. However, Mr White does not think it is such a great idea. At the end of their argument his wife lost her patience, ” ‘Wish!’ she cried in a strong voice. ‘It is foolish and wicked,’ he stammered, hesitating. ‘Wish!’ repeated his wife.” Their argument is the second conflict that Mr White goes through and this time it is with his wife. He overcomes this conflict by being brave for his wife and wishing for his son to come back.
Approaching the resolution of the story, after Mr White wishes for his son to come back, he and Mrs White wait a while, for their son to come. However, after a while, Mr White is relieved that this didn’t happen. So he goes to bed, and Mrs White soon follows suit. Suddenly, they hear a knock on the door and Mrs White jumps up, anxious to see her son again. At this, Mr White exclaims ” ‘For God’s sake, don’t let it in!’ “. This exclamation shows that he fears what is on the other side of the door knocking and that he believes that it could be very risky and dangerous for them to open that door. This presents another conflict that Mr White has within himself because he must make the decision: whether he wants to see his son again or send him away forever. Determined to keep him and his wife safe, the decision becomes clear for him, and he wishes his son to go away, which is how he overcomes that internal conflict.
To conclude, Mr White is confronted with many complications throughout the short story, “The Monkey’s Paw,” but is able to overcome them with conviction and courage. The moral that can be obtained from reading the short story is that you should never be greedy when you already have enough. And that moral can be applied to everything, from everyday life to politics.
The Consequences of Greedy Wishes in the Monkey’s Paw, a Short Story by W.W. Jacobs
The Monkey’s Paw is a short story written by W.W. Jacobs in which an older couple (Mr. and Mrs. White) and their adult son (Herbert) acquire a supposedly magic rabbit’s paw from a soldier called Major-Major Morris. The major tells the family that he gained the item in India, after Mr. White brought up that location into the conversation. The major explained that the magic paw could grant three wishes to three separate men who possessed the thing. He said that the paw had already killed the first man, and that he himself was the second man. The major then tries to burn the paw.
Out of interest and mystery, Mr. White snatchers the charm from the fire it was thrown in. He holds thing as the major told him to and wished for money per his son’s request. The major leaves and the money seems to not be coming. The family decides that the paw was a story and a joke.
Herbert goes to work at a factory and doesn’t come home, instead a lawyer for the place arrives at the house and tells the couple that the son had died in a machinery accident and that the compensation for his death would be the exact amount that the father wished to have.
In which the couple learns that greed has horrible consequence.
The decides the two events (wish and compensation) were coincidences, while the wife believes there was a correlation and that they should use one of their two remaining wishes to bring their son back to life. The man insists that whatever live could be wished into their child would turn him into something else, that Herbert was gone. The wife insists that the wish be made anyway and the husband does as told.
There’s knocking at the door.
The wife hurries to let in their potentially mutilated and monstrous child while the husband scrambles for the paw with the intention of using the final wish to reverse the second (he should have just reversed it all, and gone back in time to allow the major to burn the thing.) Regardless of what other efforts the husband could/should have chosen, he choses to kill his son for the second time in the nine-page story.
The story does not present a good perspective on the idea of wishing away problems. In the begging of the story the man was complaining about where they lived and how much simpler their lives would be in a different location, however, when he gains the paw, he is stumped for a moment on what he should wish for. He even says that holding wishes in his fingers made him realize that he had all that he needed already. It was Herbert that prompted his father to ask for the money that spiraled their lives into sorrow.
The theme of the story can be interpreted as being that people are lost in the pursuit of selfish wealth.
Analyzing Differences In The Monkey’s Paw And “The Monkey’s Paw”
Upon reading the short story “The Monkey’s Paw” written by W. W. Jacobs and the interpretive film The Monkey’s Paw by Ricky Lewis Jr. , it is possible to determine a similar reflection of plot events and a common setting. This connection is also seen in the way both adaptations make the reader feel and the mood perceived in the reader or observers mind. However, there are many distinctions in each aspect of the two interpretations. The differences you can find include the changes in the character’s actions, as well as a prominent change in imagery throughout the interpretative movie and original text. These similarities and differences between “The Monkey’s Paw” and The Monkey’s Paw show how two authors or creators can illustrate a varying mood, change imagery, or show a difference in the characters although based from the same idea. Beginning with the differences found in the imagery and foreshadowing, there is automatically an uncommon trait. Within the first few moments of the interpretive movie The Monkey’s Paw, there is a change of imagery compared to that in the beginning of “The Monkey’s Paw”.
When Jacobs writes, “Without, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnum Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly” (Jacobs 15), he is beginning the story with a very open tone. Jacobs allows the following events to set up a more cheerful mood. Allowing the first take at the story to be rather vague, the reader can easily become more shocked as the story progresses due to the weakened foreshadowing. The imagery used does not present a very frightening mood for the reader, but a more neutral one that they can tell will be influenced soon in the story. Adding to the light-hearted mood in the reader’s mind, the contrasting details of the dark and rainy night to the bright fire neutralize the common negativity associated with the harsh night and further influences the reader’s idea in the opening of the story. There is nothing yet in reader’s mind that tells them the story will contain more harsh and negative tones. On the contrary, The Monkey’s Paw begins in a very different way. The first scenes in the short film show the old fakir putting a spell on the paw. The green fog encompassing the room where the old Fakir is creates a heavy amount of foreshadowing as to how the story will develop. Beginning the movie in this way automatically leads the observer’s mind down a path led by an ominous view.
The reader is left little optimism towards the storyline and is set up for a more mysterious and frightening story, whereas in the begging of “The Monkey’s Paw” there is an abundance of optimism provided. These varying types of imagery have a large effect on the mood perceived by the reader. Although the themes originate from the same idea, the short story creates a greater sense of optimism towards the mood of the story, whereas the short film begins with a more set and ominous mood. The director of The Monkey’s Paw chose to include this trait in order to prepare the reader’s mind. It is necessary for the reader’s thoughts to be set up in a certain expectation in order to perceive the author’s intended feeling as they progress through the story. This change in imagery well illustrates that two creators can use small details to fully change the entire opening of the story, as well as the domino effect this change has on the reader’s expectation in the mood while progressing through the story. Continuing into the two interpretations, there is another large gap between the two takes of the same idea.
This gap is found in the character development of Sergeant Major Morris. When Lewis directs Sergeant Major Morris to say “Don’t worry, I am not in uniform” (Lewis— ), he has created a sense of humor identified with the sergeant. The beginning dark tone is lightened upon his arrival, changing the reader’s feelings towards him. However, when Jacobs writes, “The Sergeant-Major took hands and taking the proffered seat by the fire, watched contentedly as his host got out whiskey and tumblers and stood a small copper kettle on the fire” (Jacobs 16), he provides a different outlook to this character. There was a much more significant amount of development put into Morris’ arrival in The Monkey’s Paw compared to “The Monkey’s Paw”. In “The Monkey’s Paw”, he is automatically presumed less friendly as less detail was put into his arrival. There was also less change in the mood and tone when he arrived. Upon the sergeant’s arrival in the movie, the mood was automatically lifted. Although seeming to not matter much, the development put into his character adds an abundant amount of suspense and shock in the following plot events throughout both interpretations. Since there are more positive connections with the sergeant in The Monkey’s Paw, the director’s switch from lightheartedness to suspense is much more dramatic than that of ‘The Monkey’s Paw. That change is a major shock to the observer and adds a lot of emotion to the overall feeling of the presented storyline.
Since there was already more negative connections to the sergeant in “The Monkey’s Paw”, there was less of a shock provided when the reader learned about the negative connotation linked with him and the paw. This is due to the foreshadowing Jacobs provided. This shock value is a major turning point in both stories. It completely changes the tone and mood of the story and sets up what more is to come. Without the development or inclusion of sergeant major Morris and the vagueness of his replies to the questions relative to the paw, the storyline of these two interpretations could be very different. These differences in the two creators works, also illustrate how different the effect that changing small details can have. The two creators wanted different emotional connections put with the sergeant. Jacobs provided more of an automatic doubtful tone into this man by using less friendly details upon his arrival whereas Lewis provokes a friendly attitude into his interpretation of Sergeant Major Morris. To continue, there are many similarities and differences in the plot events leading to the resolution of the story.
One of these similarities includes the amount of irony associated with the death of Mr. and Mrs. White’s son, Herbert. In Lewis’s adaptation, the representative from Herbert’s employing company says, “—–” (blah ). This is very similar to a portion of Jacob’s story when he writes “. . . in consideration of your son’s services they wish to present you with a certain sum as compensation. . . two hundred pounds” (Jacobs 19). These two similar details in the separate works are important to the connection between them. Without Herbert’s death and the irony developed from the specific amount of money they are given for compensation, the plotline of the two works would be very different. Earlier in the story, Jacobs writes “And if they could, how could two hundred pounds hurt you” (Jacobs 17). When Herbert jokes about Mr. White being hurt from the 200 pounds, there is little thought put into it. A very similar line is found in The Monkey’s Paw when Herbert says “—“. However, after the family is compensated that exact amount, the irony within the situation is revealed. This revelation is seen in both The Monkey’s Paw and “The Monkey’s Paw”. The creators of the short story and short film both used this form of irony to show the effects of the paw.
These effects extend even farther and into the mood of the story. The use of irony creates more tension and suspense, as well as a slight sense of humor. All of these building feelings create an effect on the reader, directly influencing the mood. This example of Herbert’s ironic death perfectly illustrates how the two creators used a similar detail to create a similar piece to their story. Both of these creators provided a similar mood in this portion of the works and supported the necessary roll in the stories plot events. To conclude, there are many ways that two different creators can edit an idea and create a form of media that is both similar and different to another. By varying the mood, changing the imagery, and developing the various amount of connections to the characters, a story can be influenced massively. The small details that the author or director changed in the case of The Monkey’s Paw and ‘The Monkey’s Paw” had large effects on the overall view of a story. The mood was very commonly affected by the changes made by the creators and this variance provided a different experience for each person watching or reading the works. All in all, the small choices of a director or author can have a large effect on the story told and the type of mood it can set in the reader’s mind, even though the main theme is shared between them.
The Impact Of Greed On A Man In The Monkey’s Paw By W. W. Jacob
Greed is a desire that has been imprinted in men’s nature since the beginning of time. W. W. Jacob’s short story “The Monkey’s Paw” is a piece that depicts and reawakens men’s thoughts and beliefs on the seemingly important factors in life. It captures a tragic look on the avarice that lays at the bottom of our hearts. Within the story, W. W. Jacob shows that greed drives men to want to acquire more than necessary, and that one harmless wish creates and intensifies the next, making men desire to achieve inhumanly exploits. Lastly, impulsive moves, done blinded by one’s acquisitiveness, lead to miserable consequences. Therefore, the theme of this piece shows that greed and intense desires lead to unfulfilled expectations, with unintended consequences within the way.
The piece “The Monkey’s Paw” insinuates within its plot that greed pushes men to aspire to get more than needed. In the short story, Mr. and Mrs. White was leading a normal, uneventful life: a home, a son, a family… However, the introduction of “The Monkey’s Paw” in their life immediately altered their gratefulness to what they already possessed, as they wished to for a sum of money handed to them on a silver platter: two hundred pounds to pay off their debt. Despite the fact that the Whites did not entirely believe in the power of the monkey’s paw at the time, their first wish had enough true desire within it to reflect the greed that was so far trapped in their mind. In fact, the monkey’s paw was only a smoking gun to the explosion of longing and desire that was present within them, as the sheer fact that they made their first wish indicates the White’s hope that the talisman works and improves their already decent life. Therefore, greed, symbolized by the monkey’s paw, evokes the wanting to obtain more than absolutely indispensable.
The catastrophe in which one mild act of greed magnifying and intensifying the next, making men want to acquire impossible things was also proven in “The Monkey’s Paw”. In the storyline, Mr. and Mrs. White’s first wish was to earn two hundred pounds; this did come true, nevertheless accompanied by terrible results, as it killed their son, Herbert. The elderly couple is devoured by sadness and shortly after their first wish, wishes for Herbert back. This proves that even with the atrocious turnouts of their first wish, despite Herbert’s tragic death, the couple, especially Mrs. White, is ready to compromise the consequences of her actions to obtain what she wants. She was driven by the greed to get her son back and longed for a second wish, one that is far more grave than their first one. Therefore, her interior craving for her son blinding her, Mrs. White was pushed to wish for a seemingly unachievable fulfillment: waking someone from the dead. Henceforth, greed is a wanting that is able to grow in strength gets stronger, capable of overruling logic itself.
The impulsiveness and recklessness, fueled by avarice and accompanied by unfavorable aftermath, is portrayed in “The Monkey’s Paw”. The author shows that Mrs. White was acting extremely spontaneously when wanting her husband to wish for Herbert back. She was in a frantic state, driven by her desire to get her son back. In fact, Mrs. White states in the story “Why didn’t I think of it before?”, right before commanding Mr. White to wish to bring Herbert back. This means she immediately executed her idea without considering it twice, pushed by her yearning to get her son. As a matter of fact, the story showed that Mr. White always and already had a impetuous mind from the beginning, a factor that was insinuated from his radical moves in chess, however, greed modified Mrs. White’s actions as well. In the end, the couple is left traumatized and depressed, in loss of their son and all wishes. For these reasons, greed can turn one to act without reasoning and possess a negative effect on the outcome.
The theme in “The Monkey’s Paw” is that greed has perilous, fervent powers that is able to overlook gratefulness, logic or thoughts. It urges men to crave for more than what they already have, causing a feeling of ungratefulness within them. It also pushes people to desire greater deeds each and every time, without considering the possibility of the wishes actually being achieved. Moreover, it fuels hasty and unplanned moves, driving situations for the worst. To sum it all up, the message conveyed in the story “The Monkey’s Paw” is clear: greed is a fiery, yet dangerous desire that could overflow ones thought and mind, leading to unwanted results.