The Monkeys Paw

Essay by emehrzai1High School, 10th gradeB, October 2014

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Elias Mehrzai

Mr. McFarlin

Honors English 10A, Period 5

24 August 2014

Fatal Attraction

Heraclitus once said that "a man's character is his fate". Mr. White's curiosity in "The Monkey's Paw", by W.W. Jacobs, is the root of his hardship. A dried up monkey's paw with a spell cast upon it supposedly grants wishes to whomever who uses it. This paw ends up in the White family's hands. The drawback is that the paw is a curse not a blessing. An Indian fakir has created the curse as a lesson to teach people not to change their destiny. Through foreshadowing and situational irony, Jacobs expresses the idea that curiosity can drive people to make hasty decisions which tempers with fate, and ultimately results in tragedy.

Jacobs uses foreshadowing to show that inquisitiveness leads a person to make quick decisions which negatively alters (3) their destiny. When Morris throws the monkey paw in the flames, Mr.

White who was very interested, quickly "snatched it off" (Jacobs 3). As Mr. White picks up the paw, Jacobs uses foreshadowing to show there is a possibility of negative consequences from bringing something back from being thrown into fire, one does not burn things unless it is useless or bad, in this case it was a dangerous object (1). Fire is a symbol of death, and right before Herbert goes to sleep he sees faces in the fire and the very next day he dies; joining the faces. Also, taking the paw out of the fire represents that Mr. White's wishes "[his] son alive again" (Jacobs 10). Haste clouded his judgment because bringing his son back to life would have also lead to bad consequences. As Mr. White brought his son out of his grave, it symbolized how Mr. White took the...