Fate In The Monkey's Paw By W. Jacobs

758 Words4 Pages
Fate cannot be tamed and anyone who tries to modify their fate does so to their sorrow. This is the main theme that is exemplified in the short work of fiction “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs. Jacobs successfully creates characters who eventually learn the lesson about fate. Mr. and Mrs. White, the main characters, are visited late one night by a fakir who gives them a monkey’s paw that could grant 3 wishes. But, before the fakir leaves, he warns the Whites, if they use the paw, to “wish for something sensible” (Jacobs 27). Not only does this create foreshadowing, but it also generates conflict between the Whites as to whether or not to use the paw and what to wish for. The author uses the responses of the characters to this conflict, especially…show more content…
A terrified and grief stricken Mrs. White acts impulsively, trying to get her son back. She ultimately grabs the paw from where it had been discarded, lying forlornly on the kitchen table, and uses another wish to get her son back (Jacobs 33). Awhile later, the Whites hear knocking and realize that the paw has worked again. Mrs. White rushes to the door, while Mr. White hangs back. Mr. White realizes almost too late that whatever is behind the door might not be his son. So, Mr. White quickly grabs the paw and wishes away whatever was behind the door. The door then swings open to reveal no one. Mrs. White, once again grief stricken, runs outside to the quiet and deserted road and the story ends with the sounds of her anguished cries cutting through the night (Jacobs 34). This, once again, is an example of how the characters’ reactions help to build to the theme. The Whites certainly get what they wished for, but not in the way in which they want it.
The reactions of the Whites help to build the story and specifically help to exemplify the theme. The Whites ultimately find out twice that fate has its own plan. They messed with fate and instead, found out that by messing with their fates they ultimately turned their happiness into sorrow. By obtaining the monkey’s paw, they lost their only son due to the first wish and used the second and third wishes carelessly and by the end of the story, they were grief stricken and hopeless. They eventually learned the lesson that for every wish, there is a price to
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