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I need help identifying a recurrent theme for the "Monkey's Paw" and the third wish...

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thefairuser | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 13, 2012 at 2:17 PM via web

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I need help identifying a recurrent theme for the "Monkey's Paw" and the third wish please:/

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jgeertz | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted March 13, 2012 at 9:20 PM (Answer #1)

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"The Monkey's Paw," written by W. W. Jacobs, is a short story of the horror genre. Mr. White is an older man fascinated by the mystical power of the monkey's paw which is said to grant its owner three wishes.

Mr. White's first wish is for two hundred pounds to pay off his home. This wish leads to the death of his son, Herbert, and subsequent settlement money from the company of two hundred pounds.

The second wish occurs when, under the grief stricken pleas of his wife, Mr. White wishes for his son,Herbert, to come back to life. Although he consents, he worries that his son's body has changed into a mangled zombie. 

The third and final wish happens when there is knocking on the door. Mr. White uses his final wish to send the "unwanted, evil visitor" away. The third wish is symbolic of Mr. White's attempt to redeem himself for  his prior selfishness and greed.

One recurrent theme of the story is the danger of wishing. Greed and wishing for things you don't need can lead to unhappiness. The message is to be careful what you wish for because it might come true and lead to unexpected consequences! 

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