Free Essay Sample on W.W. Jacob's "The Monkey's Paw"

Published: 2023-11-25
Free Essay Sample on W.W. Jacob's "The Monkey's Paw"
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  English literature
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 643 words
6 min read


“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs is a supernatural fiction that keeps the reader on tenterhooks to its end. It is written from a third-person point of view and seeks to inform the reader that it is dangerous and futile to attempt to alter fate and that one should be careful while making critical decisions.

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First Part

The first part begins with the main characters, the white family comprising Mr. White, his son, Herbert, and his wife, Mrs. White. It is late at night, and they are just about to have supper. Mr. White and his son are playing chess while Mrs. White is knitting by the fire. An old friend, Sergeant-Major Morris. Mr. White brings up the story that his friend had mentioned to him but did not finish it earlier on. The story of a mysterious pawn, both Mr. and Mrs. White, insists on getting much of the pawn story.

Sergeant-Morris removes a dried monkey paw from one of his pockets and says, “It had a spell put on it by an old fakir very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it” (Jacobs 2). He throws it in the fire, but Mr. White recovers it from the fire and puts on the table. The sergeant cautions Mr. White three times that he should consider throwing the paw back in fire. Mr. White insists that Sergeant Morris should show him how the paw is used to make a wish. Eventually, Sergeant Morris explains to Mr. White how the wish is made. Sergeant-Morris alerts Mr. White to use common sense while making wishes with the paw to avoid getting in trouble. Mr. White makes the wish for 200 pounds that Herbert had mentioned that it would clear the house debt.

Second Part

The second part of the book starts with the following day. The three engage in a conversation shortly before Herbert leaves for work. That afternoon they are visited by a representative of the company where Herbart was an employee. The representative tells them that Herbart was caught in the machinery in an accident and died. The representative also adds that the company has stated that it will not take responsibility for what has happened, although it will give some amount to the family, two hundred pounds.

Third Part

The third and the last sessions begin with Mr. White awakening from sleep by the wails of Mrs. White (Jacobs 8). Mrs. White forces Mr. White to make another wish to bring their son back. Mr. White explains to him that such would also come along with another impact in their lives as the first wish did. Mr. White goes ahead and performs the wish-making process. They then wait for their wishes to be granted. They hear two knocks at the door. Mrs. White says, "It's my boy; it's Herbert!" (Jacobs 10). Mr. White pleads with her not to open the door. She, however, insists and gets loose from Mr. White, who was holding her. She dashes downstairs as she attempts to reach out for the bolt, the knocking increases (Jacobs 10). Mr. White looks for the pawn again and makes a final wish. The knocking ceases as Mrs. White cries out. Mr. White rushes downstairs to the cry of Mrs. White. He sees that beyond the door, the street was empty.


“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs is a classical horror tale that truly informs the reader that it is dangerous and futile to attempt to alter fate and that one should be careful while making critical decisions.

Works Cited

Jacobs, W. W. "The monkey's paw. The lady of the barge. London & New York." (1902).

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