How would you plot "The Monkey's Paw" (such as the rising action, climax, etc.)?I have the exposition and resolution, so no need to explain those.

Expert Answers

Want to remove ads?

Get ad-free questions with an eNotes 48-hour free trial.

Try It Free No Thanks
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The suspense of W. W. Jacobs's story, "The Monkey's Paw" is the feature that propels the plot, along with the foreshadowing. 


In Part I, [the inciting incident]after the old soldier leaves, Herbert's daring attitude prompts Mr. White to take the paw from his pocket and look doubtfully at it. Mr. White wishes for two hundred pounds, and as Herbert humorously strikes a few ominous chords on the piano, the paw moves in the hands of Mr. White.  As Mr. and Mrs. White retire to their bedroom, Herbert gazes into the fire and sees hideous faces in it.  With a shiver, he, too, goes to bed.

In Part II, [development]Herbert leaves for work; later in the day a man pauses three times at the gate of the White home, but the fourth time he passes through.  He has the sad news that Herbert was caught in the machinery at his job and killed.  Maw and Meggins, the firm he represents, "admits no liablitity at all, but in consideration of your son's services" the man says, "wish to present you with a certain sum as compensation."  The sum is two hundred pounds.

In Part III [conflict increases with more development]the couple bury their son, yet they remain in a "state of expectation as though of something else to happen."  Mrs. Smith thinks of the paw; she tells her husband that they have two other wishes.  She begs Mr. White to wish to have their boy back.  When Mr. White warns her that Herbert was unrecognizable after the accident and has been dead ten days, but she is undeterred.  So they wish for Herbert to return.  Mr. White raises his hand with the talisman, saying,  "I wish my son alive again."

CLIMAX [point of highest interest or suspense]

After a while a stair creaks, so Mr. White goes down the dark stairs to investigate.  Then, the matches he has been holding fall from his hands, and he flees back to the bedroom and closes the door.  Despite his fear and his warnings, his wife insists upon going down the stairs.  Loud knocks resound and Mr. White hears his wife: "The bolt," she cries..."I can't reach it." Hurrying to assist her against the "fusillage of knocks," they drag a chair against the door as it begins to give way. Finding the monkey's paw, Mr. White makes his third wish.

FALLING ACTION [events that follow the climax]

The knocking stops suddenly.  A long loud cry of anguish from his wife brings Mr. White to her side.

RESOLUTION [denouement, end]

Then, he runs through the gate and looks down the lighted solitary road.


akashbagri | Student

The Monkey's Paw" is W.W. Jacobs' most famous story and is considered to be a classic of horror fiction. It first appeared in Harper's Monthly magazine in 1902, and was reprinted in his third collection of short stories, The Lady of the Barge, also published in 1902. The story has since been published in many anthologies, adapted for the stage, and made into films. "The Monkey's Paw" was well received when Jacobs first published it; the story garnered rave reviews from some of the most important critics writing at the turn of the century. The story was also very popular with readers. Like O. Henry, Jacobs was famous during his lifetime for writing a particular type of story rather than for any particular work. Similar to O. Henry's stories, Jacobs' tale