Describe the resolution in "The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs.

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kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The denouement or resolution of a story is the way the story turns out--the conflict is solved in some way, and the story ends. In "The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs, we read about Mr. White, who despite warnings from Sergeant Major Morris, fishes the "magical" monkey's paw out of his fireplace and makes a wish for enough money to pay off his house. His son and wife tease him, but both are anxious to find out if his wish will actually work.

Sadly, for all of them, it does work. Herbert, the son, is killed in a terrible work accident, and Mr. and Mrs. White are given exactly the amount of money for which they had wished. Later, Mrs. White begs her husband to wish Herbert alive, and despite his misgivings, Mr. White does. He quickly realizes that Herbert will not be the same son they had before the accident, and in the resolution, when the Whites hear a loud knock at the door, Mr. White frantically makes one last wish--to put Herbert back in his grave.

The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair drawn back, and the door opened.

A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The streetlamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road (Jacobs 17).

 

 

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The resolution of "The Monkey's Paw" happens after the climax (in which Mrs. White wishes for the return of her dead son, Herbert).

After the climax, Mr. and Mrs. White hear knocking at the door. Mrs. White believes that it is Herbert, returned from the dead, and she runs to the door to let him in.

In contrast, Mr. White is "trembling" with fear and begs his wife to not let "it" in the house. While Mrs. White frantically tries to remove the bolt on the front door, Mr. White searches for the monkey's paw because he knows that he has one wish remaining.

Mrs. White finally opens the door but, at that exact same moment, her husband wishes Herbert away. As a result, the door swings open, but there is nobody there. She releases a "wail of disappointment." Mr. White runs out into the street, but there is nothing there, except for the "quiet and deserted road."