The Monkey’s Paw Analysis by W.W. Jacobs

This is a horror-fiction that employs third-person voice for narration. It is filled with dread, foreboding, tragedy and a sense of loss and desolation. The main conflict in the story is between Mr. White’s desire to fulfill his wishes and the monkey’s paw that can either be his prosperity or ruin his family and life.

There is a constant foreshadowing of an impending disaster right from the first scene and the stories of Morris. The story is set in the times of British colonial rule over countries like India and brings a lot of reference to the thought, culture, and morality of the same as allusions to Indian fakir, reference to magical stories of Arabian Nights.

The characters show both a sense of wonder and a tone of misguided superiority when discussing the tales and stories of foreign and exotic places like India, Middle Eastern Islamic countries, etc.

Even though the paw is powerful enough to fulfill any wish, two of its three users end up wishing for death which creates an unfortunate irony. In fact, the fact that the wishing paw brings only tragic curses and evil consequences is ironic as well.

The text also contains a profuse use of symbolism. The monkey’s paw symbolizes great and unexplained magic, evil and death. Cold wind and dark night symbolize the sense of ominous and tragic ambiance.

There is also the use of Chess which cleverly stages the subsequent moves by Mr. White and Herbert regarding the wishes. It also symbolizes that every move we make has a consequence attached to it.

Apart from symbolism, the story also has a lot of images that draw the reader closer to the action. The face of monkey in the fire, the mutilated corpse of Herbert, the dreary and desolate road, wintry and quiet night, etc all add context and value to the narration.

The story also has a mysterious end staying honest to the overall tone of the text. The readers are left to wonder what did Mr. White actually wishes at the very end and who or what was the actual cause behind the knocking at the front door of the house.