How do you explain the three wishes in the short story Tthe Monkey's Paw"?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

W. W. Jacobs' short story, "The Monkey's Paw," revolves around the three wishes granted the owner of the shriveled paw. After gaining possession of the paw from an old friend who warned them about its evil, magical powers, the White family decided to test the paw's possibilities. The first wish is made by Mr. White "for two hundred pounds." The next day, the wish comes true when the family receives 200 pounds compensation--for the gruesome death of their son, Herbert. Mr. White makes a second wish, " 'to make my son alive again.' " The reader never knows for sure about the final wish, but when the Whites hear a sudden knock at the door, they believe it to be the mangled Herbert returning from the dead. The third wish is never uttered, but we can only assume that the final wish is for Herbert to return to the grave, for when Mr. White opens the door, no one is there.

aartihelpdesk | Student

W.W.Jacob's "The Monkey's Paw" is a nail - biting story where an uncanny suspense looms right till the end. It is a first-hand evidence to illustrate the fact that "fate ruled people's lives, and those who interfered with it, did so to their sorrow".

After attaining the malicious paw, the Whites decide to put it to test. Herbert asks his father to wish for 200 pounds to clear their home loan. His father does so. The next day, they receive the sum as a compensation for Herbert's death. Coincidence?? Not at all.

The next wish is enforced by his wife who wants her son back from the grave. It was a desperate desire from a mother, but it challenges the eternal law of life.

The final wish is not shown explicitly, but it is Mr. White, who reverses their previous wish. With a hard heart, the father wished his son to return to his grave.

Indeed, an excellent story !

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The Monkey's Paw

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