1. Introduction and background.

W. W. Jacobs wrote this short story. In the book, the book called from the Lady of the Barge (1906, 6th d.

2. Summary of the story

Overall, this short story describes a harmonious family that is ruined by the presence of Monkey’s Paw, which destroys the family’s life. There are three parts to this story, and each part has its own creepy mystery.

Part I

– the beginning of monkey’s paw-

At the story's beginning, there is a family with three members: the father, Mr. White; the mother, Mrs. White; and the only son, Herbert.

At that time, they sat together by the fireplace as the father and son played chess and the mother knitted quietly. As the night was getting colder and wet. They heard footsteps outside, and an old man came over. This man was Sergeant Major Morris, identified as a family friend or perhaps a family member. Mr. Moris started talking about his experiences in India while on duty. They had a normal conversation until Mr. Morris came up with the monkey’s paw stories. It was a dried and mummified paw. Moris said the monkey’s paw had a magic that could grant three wishes. This monkey paw had been filled with spells and magics by a fakir1 man in India. He told the family member that his wishes had been granted but had consequences. The whole family seriously listened to the stories about the monkey’s paw. Mr. Morris intended to sell this monkey’s paw, but no one wanted this thing. Finally, Mr. Morris threw away the monkey’s paw to the fireplace, but suddenly, Mr. white took it and saved it on the fireplace shelf.  Mr. White was impressed with the monkey’s paw and intended to keep it. They continued to have dinner together, and Mr. Moris left the house.

 Before going to bed, Mr. White wished to have two hundred pounds. Suddenly, he felt that the monkey’s paw moved as if it had changed to a snake on his hand, but no one believed what he felt. Herbert, the only son, jokingly said to his father,” You must be ready. Maybe that money will fall from the sky to your head.” They began to laugh together. But it remained a mystery for Mr. White why the monkey’s paw moved.

Part II

– The poor, Herbert_

No one talked about what happened last night. Herbet went to work at the factory, and the parent did their daily routine. Mr. White still thought that the monkey’s paw moved in his hand. In the middle of the afternoon, Mr. White and Mrs. White had lunch together at the old table.  Mrs. White glanced at the door and realized that there was a posh, dressed man with a formal suit and high hat. They introduced themselves as a representative of a company where Herbert worked. They informed that Herbert, caught in machinery, was severely hurt but feeling no pain. Mr. and Mrs. White recognized what they meant that “hurt but feeling no pain “meant death. Mrs. White loudly cried as they informed the horrible news. They added some information that the company would not be responsible for Herbet’s death, but the company gave the Mr. white and Mrs. white for funeral service.  Mr. White asked, “How much would it be? “They replied,” It would be two hundred pounds.” As soon as they heard about the amount,  Mr White fainted, and Mrs. white desperately cried.


Part III

  • A grief-stricken life-

The old couple came back from Herbert’s grave and was full of sadness. They live in the deepest grieving of losing their only son. He was the only hope for the family. They did not sleep well for the last ten days after Herbert’s death—one night, as they were sleeping together. Mrs. white felt all the misery caused by the monkey’s paw. But Mr. White believed that it was only a perfect coincidence. Mrs. White forced his husband to make a new wish. “Back my son again, back him alive; you have two wishes left; now make it our son back again.” Mr. White did not want to make the other's wishes. He knew the condition of her son, who had only been identified by clothes, but his wife didn’t.

Mr. White made a wish to bring his son back again; suddenly, they heard someone knock on the door. Mrs. White believed it was Herbert who had come back from the grief.

 There was intense conflict between the old couple in part III as the knocking sound was getting louder.

Mr. White encouraged his wife not to open the door, but Mrs. White went down the stairs to open it. It was hard to open; the door was jammed. Mrs. White struggled to open the door while Mr. White made the last wish. Suddenly, after the door opened, they found nothing outside, only the deserted.

3. Evaluation

After reading this short story, some questions remain a mystery. The biggest question was, what’s behind the door? What’s knocked on the door? What‘s the Mr. white’s last wish? And what are Moris's three wishes?

As a reader of this story, I have a lot of alternative endings for this story and am guessing the answer to those questions.

The possible last wish of Mr. White was to hope that Herbert came back again to grieve or that Morris never came over to his house, and it never happened.

What’s behind the door? There are three things that come to mind. Firstly, if the monkey’s paw has real magic to make the wish granted, then the thing behind the door must be Herbert, who came back from the grieve. Secondly, it probably was a traveller who lost and perhaps a thief who tried to enter the house. The other answer is that it may be the monkey who wants to bring back its paw.

How about the Morris’s wishes? In this story, the author never stated Morris’s wishes and did not give us a clue. However, the author tells us that Morriss's boss was the first man who used the monkey’s paw and that his last wish was to die. In addition, we never know about his first and second wishes.

This horror story implies that the readers guess the answer to the questions above and force us to imagine beyond our imagination.

In the Ending, I felt the ending was incomplete and remains a mystery. It is better if the author tells us about the truth behind the door. We can make another alternative ending; if something behind the door was Herbert, we could make the ending from Herbert’s perspective in the grave.


Fakir: holy man 

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