In "The Monkey's Paw," Sergeant Major Morris speaks of a man who made two wishes that we don't know. But his last wish was for death. What do you think were the two wishes? In "The Monkey's Paw," Sergeant Major Morris speaks of a man who made two wishes that we don't know. But his last wish was for death. What do you think were the two wishes?

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I think we can guess that the first man's first wish was for money. That's what most of  us would wish for, isn't it? Most people would be a lot less modest than Mr. and Mrs. White: they would wish for a lot of money--millions of dollars, or pounds. The...

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I think we can guess that the first man's first wish was for money. That's what most of  us would wish for, isn't it? Most people would be a lot less modest than Mr. and Mrs. White: they would wish for a lot of money--millions of dollars, or pounds. The first man probably got the money but at some terrible cost and tried to use his second wish to undo the damage his first wish had caused. Then when the second wish--whatever it was--only made matters worse, he could only think of wishing for death. Perhaps the first wish got him the money but made him a criminal, even a murderer, and he ended up in prison or sentenced to be hanged. Then he might have wished to be out of prison and safe from recapture and found himself marooned on an island. The newspapers are full of stories about people who wanted something that turned out to be a curse when they got it. Offhand I can't think of a lot of novels or stories that deal with this theme, but F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby might be an example. I highly recommend the short story "The Great Good Place" by Henry James. It is about a man who has succeeded in becoming an internationally famous writer and discovers that he has lost his soul.

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I agree with # 2 that the decision not to reveal the two wishes adds to the mystery and ominousness of the story. By not revealing the first two wishes, but by revealing that the third wish was for death, the author encourages readers to use their own imaginations and probably assume something awful. In this way, he helps foreshadow the dark outcome of the story.

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This is something that author W. W. Jacobs chose not to reveal in his short story, "The Monkey's Paw." Not knowing what the wishes are make them far more mysterious to both the Whites and to the reader. We know that the results must have been terrible in order for the man to wish for death with his third wish. It could have been something as simple as wishing to be rich (and having a chest full of gold fall on his head); or for 200 pounds, as the Whites did. Undoubtedly, the wish was granted--but with unusual results, and at a terrible price.

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