In "The Monkey's Paw," did the fakir succeed with his lesson about fate? 

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is best to start with the words of Sergeant Major Morris. Here is what he says about what the fakir said. 

‘An old fakir put a spell on it. He was a very holy man and he wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that to interfere with fate only caused deep sadness. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it.’

At first the Whites thought that this was superstitious. But they were curious. So, in time, Mr. White made a wish. He wished for his house to be paid off. To his surprise he got the money, but it happened in an unexpected way. His son, Herbert, died at work. 

Mrs. White could not bear the pain, and so she wished that she would have her son back. When she did this, there was a knock on the front door. Mr. White concluded that it must have been Herbert. However, since he was dead, Mr. White thought that the one knocking on the door might be a horrific version of Herbert. So, he wished it away. 

Now as for the question of whether the Whites learned not to tamper with fate, I think they did. The fakir was successful. 

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Monkey's Paw," the fakir put a spell on the paw to teach people that interfering with fate would only lead to "sorrow." Through the characters of Sergeant-Major Morris and the White family, we see that the fakir was successful in teaching this lesson.

Firstly, despite keeping hold of the monkey's paw, Sergeant-Major Morris admits that it has caused him nothing but "mischief" and that he has no interest in making additional wishes. In fact, as he says to Mr. White, Morris wants to destroy the paw, a sign that he has learned the fakir's lesson:

"Better let it burn," said the soldier solemnly.

In contrast, the White family are very interested in the monkey's paw, but their interest is short-lived. Their first wish, for example, causes the death of their son. This tragic event leads Mrs. White to make a second wish for her son's return, but Mr. White intervenes to prevent this from happening. Mr. White, therefore, has quickly learned the fakir's lesson, but it takes Mrs. White a little bit longer.