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.
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