illustration of an open-faced monkey's paw with a skull design on the palm

The Monkey's Paw

by W. W. Jacobs

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What are some examples of foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw"?

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An example of foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw" comes when Sergeant-Major Morris throws the paw on the fire. This foreshadows the danger that the magic talisman will bring to the Whites.

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The first example of foreshadowing in the story occurs during the chess game between Mr. White and his son, Herbert. Mr. White proceeds to put his most valuable piece, the king, in "unnecessary danger" and recognizes that he has made a mistake that "could cost him the game." Mr. White's...

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reckless moves during the chess match foreshadows his rash decision to wish upon the malevolent monkey's paw, which puts his son in serious danger. Similar to Mr. White's king, his son is valuable, and he places him in considerable, unnecessary peril by using the monkey's paw. Following Herbert's death, Mr. White attempts to undo his mistake and narrowly prevents his wife from witnessing his son return as a zombie.

Another example of foreshadowing concerns Sergeant-Major Morris's story about the monkey's paw and his solemn response to whether or not he would want to have three more wishes. Foreshadowing takes place when Morris comments that the first owner's third wish was for death. This foreshadows the tragic situation the Whites experience when they discover Herbert has died in a work accident. Similarly, Morris's response that he does not know if he would want more wishes and his decision to throw the paw into the fire foreshadows the evil associated with it. The background of the monkey's paw and Morris's response suggests that the talisman is evil and that only bad will come from owning it. Tragically, the Whites pay the ultimate price for using the monkey's paw, ruining their peaceful lives.

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Sergeant-Major Morris knows full well that the monkey's paw he's brought to show the Whites is a very dangerous object indeed. He knows that it's most certainly not the piece of harmless mumbo-jumbo the Whites seem to think it is. Sensing that Mr. White and his family don't take it seriously, Morris throws the paw onto the fire.

Sergeant-Major Morris wouldn't have done this unless he genuinely believed that the paw represented a danger. His actions, therefore, foreshadow the immense trouble that the magic talisman will bring to the Whites.

Unfortunately, Mr. White retrieves the paw from the fire before it can be completely destroyed. In doing so, he unwittingly sets himself and his family on a path of heartbreak and tragedy.

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One example of foreshadowing begins with Mrs. White's lighthearted reaction to Sergeant Major Morris's grave explanations of the powers of the monkey's paw:

"Don't you think you might wish for four pairs of hands for me?"

Her husband drew the talisman from his pocket and then all three burst into laughter as the sergeant-major, with a look of alarm on his face, caught him by the arm. "If you must wish," he said gruffly, "wish for something sensible."

It is clear that the Whites do not believe that any harm can come from wishes, and the stern cautionary statement to "wish for something sensible" foreshadows their later insensible actions, especially the wish to bring their son back from the dead.

Near the end of the story, Mrs. White commands that her husband use the paw to bring her son back to life. As he stumbles through the house considering her demands, there is another example of foreshadowing:

The talisman was in its place, and a horrible fear that the unspoken wish might bring his mutilated son before him ere he could escape from the room seized upon him, and he caught his breath as he found that he had lost the direction of the door.

This foreshadows the knocking that the couple will soon hear at their door, and this image of the "mutilated son" whispers in the reader's ear as the author never directly says who or what is doing the knocking so late at night. Because of this foreshadowing, the reader is led to believe that their "mutilated" son has indeed risen from his grave and at the end stands knocking as a direct result of the powers of the monkey's paw.

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Foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw" serves to alert the reader that misfortune may lay ahead.

Foreshadowing: In the exposition Mr. White tries to distract his son from seeing the error he has made in the last move of his chess piece. What is interesting about this foreshadowing is the description of his motive:

Mr. White...having seen a fatal mistake after it was too late, was amiably desirous of preventing his son from seeing it [his move].

Incident that occurs: Later, Mr. White, having made the fatal "move" of wishing on the monkey's paw that the sergeant urged him to throw away, wishes for £200 to pay off his mortgage, and in so doing, unintentionally causes his son to die in order for them to receive the accident insurance money that pays off the mortgage. Later, Mr. White tries to undo his fatal mistake by wishing his son back to life just as he tries at chess to undo his "fatal" mistake by distracting his opponent.

Foreshadowing: Sergeant Major Morris clearly indicates that he is afraid of the monkey's paw. For instance, his teeth chatter against the glass. Then when he tells the Whites that the previous owner had his first two wishes granted but his third was for death, Morris hints at the danger connected to the monkey's paw.

Incident that occurs: After Herbert is killed at work and the Whites receive the £200, they are lonely and miss Herbert so badly that Mrs. White begs Mr. White to wish their boy back. This, then, is their second wish: to have Herbert return to them. However, they forget that their son's body has been mangled by machinery.

"Don't let it in," cried the old man, trembling....[he] was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If only he could find it before the thing outside got in.

When Mr. White retrieves the paw, he makes the third wish, and it is also for death.

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One of the first examples is the description of the way that Mr. White plays chess. His style is reckless to the point that others comment on it. In the game they are playing as the story opens, Mr. White only sees that he's made a huge mistake after the fact. He tries to distract his son by commenting on the wind, "having seen [the] fatal mistake after it was too late." This foreshadows how the family's wishes on the paw will ultimately affect them.

Another example would be the way that Morris responds to the request that he tell the tale of the Monkey's Paw. Clearly, he would very much like never to speak of it, as he knows there could be terrible consequences. This foreshadows the terrible consequences of using the paw.

When Morris tells the tale and sees that his hosts are interested in the paw, he throws it upon the fire. When Mr. White snatches it out, Morris says, "better let it burn." Clearly, this artifact will bring no joy to the one who possesses it and uses the three wishes.

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What are three examples of figurative language in “The Monkey's Paw”?

Figurative language is a key component in much of literature, which can be used to make the writing more memorable or more vibrant within readers' imagination. "The Monkey's Paw" is no exception on this account.

For example, in the story's first chapter, Jacobs alludes to legend of Aladdin's lamp when Mrs. White, after Morris tells the family the story of the monkey's paw, references the Arabian Nights. She states:

"Sounds like the Arabian Nights," said Mrs. White, as she rose and began to set the supper. "Don't you think you might wish for four pairs of hands for me?"

Jacobs's use of allusion in this scene actually has a multipurpose role within the story, serving to advance both the characterization and the plot. Ultimately, Mrs. White's comparison of the monkey's paw to the magical story of Aladdin establishes that the family is not taking the threat of the monkey's paw seriously, an attitude that will have negative repercussions.

In addition, Jacobs also makes use of alliteration, which is the repetition of similar consonant sounds. For example, consider the sentence that begins Chapter 3:

In the huge new cemetery, some two miles distant, the old people buried their dead, and came back to a house steeped in shadow and silence.

What can be observed, at the end of the this sentence, is the repetition of the s sound. This is not the only instance of alliteration in this story. For example, in the first chapter, you might observe the phrasing, "the old man rose with hospitable haste" (note the purposeful repetition of the h sound, represented in the selection of the words).

Finally, the story makes use of metaphorical language. For example, in the third chapter, the wife's extraordinary fervor is conveyed metaphorically, through the phrasing: "with burning eyes." Her eyes are not literally on fire, but the writing invokes a comparison here with fire to establish her intensity in this moment.

These serve as only a few examples of figurative language as they can be found within this story.

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What are three examples of figurative language in “The Monkey's Paw”?

In order to isolate figurative language in "The Monkey's Paw,"we need to establish what figurative language is. Figurative language refers to words or phrases used (often in a non-literal way) to heighten the effect of writing, adding interest, emphasis, or deeper meaning to the text. Literary devices are one way to employ figurative language. For example, a simile draws attention by comparing two unlike things using either the word "like" or "as." Alliteration is a literary device in which a consonant sound is repeated to create emphasis. A third example of literary device is onomatopoeia, which is a word that imitates the sound that it represents.

A classic example of a simile in "A Monkey's Paw" is when the old man makes his wish and feels the paw move in his hand. The paw is described as having "twisted in [his] hand like a snake." The movement of the monkey's paw is given a slithering, reptilian quality by being compared to a snake using a simile with the word "like."

An example of alliteration in this story can be found in the last paragraph. The "cry of disappointment" from Mrs. White is described as "long" and "loud," and these "l" sounds work together to create a haunting sound of lament.

Onomatopoeia is found right at the end of this story. The "creaking of the bolt" just before Mr. White makes his final wish creates a creepy auditory image and serves to heighten the tension of the moment.

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What are three examples of figurative language in “The Monkey's Paw”?

The narrator sets the scene in the story's exposition with a description of the weather and what the wind and rain have created outside the cozy cottage of the White family: "Path's a bog, and the road's a torrent." This figurative language metaphorically describes the outdoor scene as an extreme flood.

Just after Mr. White makes his first wish, for two hundred pounds, he recoils and tells his wife and son that the monkey's paw "twisted in my hand like a snake." This is a simile that compares the talisman to a serpent, a traditional portent of evil.

When the man from Maw and Meggins comes to the cottage to deliver the two hundred pounds' compensation for the death of their son, Mr. White "put[s] out his hands like a sightless man" and collapses. The simile is used to emphasize the extreme emotions of sorrow for the loss of his son and, likely, guilt for the way that the two hundred pounds he wished for has been delivered.

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What are three examples of figurative language in “The Monkey's Paw”?

There are lots of examples of figurative language in "The Monkey's Paw." Firstly, there is an example of alliteration early on in the story just before the Sergeant-Major arrives at the house. Specifically, this is shown in the repetition of the "g" sound in the phrase "guilty grin."

Secondly, Mr. Herbert uses a simile to describe the way that the monkey's paw moves when he makes his first wish. He says, for example, that the paw moves "like a snake." This is not only an effective way of describing the movement, it is also suggestive of temptation and sin, just like the snake in the Garden of Eden.

Finally, there is an example of onomatopoeia at the end of the story. The narrator says, for instance, that the "stair creaked." This sound of a creaking stair is also an example of auditory imagery.

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How does W. W. Jacobs use foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw"?

W. W. Jacobs uses foreshadowing in his short story "The Monkey's Paw" to give hints and clues to the reader about future events in the story. This foreshadowing creates an atmosphere of suspense and imparts an aura of the unexpected and the supernatural to the story.

Foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw" is pervasive and persistent throughout the story and begins with the first paragraph of part 1:

Without, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly.

Mr. and Mrs. White and their son, Herbert, live in their own world, isolated from the influences of the outside world. As the story unfolds, the reader might see the drawn blinds as a symbol of the family's rejection of Sergeant-Major Morris's caution to them about the monkey's paw—"I warn you of the consequences"—and the fire as a symbol of the White family's burning desire to use the paw "to be rich, and famous and happy."

Father and son were at chess, the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical changes, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils ...

Jacobs provides insight here into Mr. White's impulsive single-mindedness in the use of the paw that results in placing his own son in "sharp and unnecessary peril."

The second paragraph of the story provides further clues of future events:

"Hark at the wind," said Mr. White, who, having seen a fatal mistake after it was too late, was amiably desirous of preventing his son from seeing it.

Later in the story, Mr. White makes a fatal mistake regarding his son, Herbert, of which no one in the White family is aware until "it [is] too late."

The sergeant-major's many warnings about the monkey's paw foreshadow dire consequences for the family, but the warnings go unheeded. Morris says that the first man who owned the monkey's paw had three wishes:

I don't know what the first two were, but the third was for death.

It's not until the very end of the story that this foreshadowing is fulfilled. Mr. White's first wish for two hundred pounds to pay off the mortgage on the house causes Herbert's accidental death at the factory.

Mrs. White insists that Mr. White make the second wish:

Go down and get it quickly, and wish our boy alive again.

Mr. White resists Mrs. White's desperate urges to make the second wish. "He's been dead ten days," he says, and he confides to her something he hadn't told her before: that their son had been so mangled by the factory machinery that he was unrecognizable, except by his clothing.

Mrs. White persists—"Bring him back," she cries—and Mr. White finally raises the monkey's paw in his hand and makes his second wish.

I wish my son alive again.

There's a loud knocking at the door, and Mrs. White is convinced that it's their son, Herbert, brought back to life. Fearing what's standing outside their home, Mr. White tries to prevent Mrs. White from opening the door. While Mrs. White struggles to unlock the door, Mr. White searches in the darkness on his hands and knees for the monkey's paw. He finds the mummified paw just as Mrs. White pulls back the bolt in the lock.

He heard the creaking of the bolt as it came slowly back, and at the same moment he found the monkey's paw, and frantically breathed his third and last wish.

As for Mr. White's third wish, W. W. Jacobs leaves it up to the reader to imagine what the nature of this third wish was, based on the reader's recollection of what Sergeant-Major Morris told them in part 1 of the story about the former owner's third wish.

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What are three examples of foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw?"

"Sounds like the Arabian Nights," said Mrs. White, as she rose and began to set the supper. "Don't you think you might wish for four pairs of hands for me?"

This is Mrs. White's somewhat flippant response to the monkey's paw. At this stage in the story, it's all just a bit of a game, a spot of harmless fun. But Mrs. White's reference to the Arabian Nights foreshadows the disturbing events that take place later on in the story. There are a number of tales in the Arabian Nights,but the one to which Mrs. White appears to allude is that of Aladdin. In the story of Aladdin, he famously makes three wishes which don't quite turn out the way he expects or wants. And the same is true in the case of "The Monkey's Paw."

"Well, why don't you have three, sir?" said Herbert White, cleverly.

The soldier regarded him in the way that middle age is wont to regard presumptuous youth. "I have," he said, quietly, and his blotchy face whitened.

Herbert, the curious young man wants to know why the sergeant-major hasn't used the monkey's paw to make three wishes. The sergeant-major replies that he has, but the look on his face tells us that the outcome wasn't a very pleasant one. What was originally just a bit of after-dinner fun has suddenly turned into something more sinister and dangerous.

"It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

The warning from the Indian holy man really couldn't be much clearer. Our lives are subject to fate; any attempt to change that through making wishes is doomed, not just to failure but to disaster. Yet, tragically, Mr. and Mrs. White fail to heed that warning, with tragic, terrifying consequences.

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Which detail from "The Monkey's Paw" is the most clearly an example of foreshadowing?

The Whites are warned against using the monkey's paw early on in the story, when Sergeant-Major Morris visits them and tells him about the find. He says it came from India where it had been enchanted by a holy man, who had sought to prove the power that fate holds in shaping human life. Morris tells them that the monkey's paw has the power to grant three wishes to three different people.

However, Morris is more than simply a source of exposition - Morris himself is a victim of the Monkey's Paw. He refuses to tell them what he wished for, but he does allude to the person had used the monkey's paw before him, and whose last wish had been to die. In their conversation, Morris hesitates to give them the monkey's paw, and at one point even tries to destroy it in the fire. Morris's characterization across this scene establishes the monkey's paw as an object which causes him much distress, and foreshadows the later traumas which will emerge from wishing upon it.

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Which detail from "The Monkey's Paw" is the most clearly an example of foreshadowing?

At the beginning of the story, Sergeant-Major Morris arrives at the White residence, and Mr. White asks him to elaborate on the story he once told about a monkey's paw. Sergeant-Major Morris then takes out the monkey's paw and tells the White family its background. Morris says that an old fakir put a spell on it to show that fate ruled people's lives. He also mentions that the spell granted three different people three wishes each. The most explicit example of foreshadowing takes place after Herbert asks Sergeant-Major Morris what happened to the first person who was granted three wishes. Morris responds by saying,

"The first man had his three wishes. Yes...I don’t know what the first two were, but the third was for death. That’s how I got the paw" (Jacobs, 2).

The fact that the first recipient of the monkey's paw wished to kill himself foreshadows that the paw is cursed and evil. Mr. and Mrs. White soon discover that the monkey's paw is cursed when their son is killed after they wish for two-hundred pounds to pay off their mortgage.

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What are three examples of foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw"?

Foreshadowing occurs when the reader is given a hint as to what is to come later in the story. In "The Monkey's Paw," foreshadowing is used to give readers a hint of the danger and tragedy that awaits the White family.

An example of foreshadowing can be seen right at the beginning of the story, when Mr. White and his son are playing chess. White is referred to as being a creator of "sharp and unnecessary perils" on the chessboard by making radical moves. The radical move he will make later that evening by wishing on the monkey's paw will place his son in unnecessary peril.

The fact that Sergeant-Major Morris is clearly unwilling to talk about the monkey's paw is another example of foreshadowing. His reticence stems from his knowledge of the power the talisman holds, and it foreshadows the horror that lies ahead for the White family as a result of the monkey's paw entering their lives.

Another example of foreshadowing occurs when the sergeant-major is telling the White family about what the paw's first owner had wished for. When he tells them that the man's "third [wish] was for death," the death of the Whites' own son, caused by a wish for money, is foreshadowed.

If the paw granted the wishes in a straightforward manner, death would presumably be the last thing someone would wish for. The fact that the previous owner chose to die rather than live with the consequences of his first two wishes is a clear indicator that there is something decidedly wrong about the paw.

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What is an example of symbolism in "The Monkey's Paw?"

One good example of symbolism in the story is the fire. While it plays no part in the second and third parts of the story, it is seen "burning brightly" throughout the first part, and is connected with the warmth and happiness of the White family; although they are not rich, they are comfortable, and Mr. White initially says that he has "everything he needs." While the family is happy, the fire is present and seems to be a symbol of their good fortune and unconscious happiness. The fire is never mentioned after its last appearance:

He sat alone in the darkness, gazing at the dying fire, and seeing faces in it. The last face was so horrible and so simian that he gazed at it in amazement. It got so vivid that, with a little uneasy laugh, he felt on the table for a glass containing a little water to throw over it.(Jacobs, "The Monkey's Paw,"

This is just after the first wish; the Whites will have their wish granted, but in tune with the theme of fate, it will be in a way that they never intended. The fire's last appearance is seemingly one of prediction and foreboding; it cannot represent comfort any longer, because the natural order of things has been disturbed. Instead, it appears scary, and this serves as a warning of the sad events to come. The fire is then replaced by descriptions of guttering candles, throwing shadows across the walls; this shows the cold, fearful state in which the household now resides.

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What are examples of foreshadowing in the short story "The Monkey's Paw"?

Jacob uses foreshadowing to hint at the events which will later feature in the story. Firstly, the "fatal mistake" mentioned in Mr. White's chess game foreshadows the mistake he will later make when he wishes for £200.

Secondly, in this same sentence, Mr. White says, "Hark at the wind." This is another example of foreshadowing, since this strong wind mirrors the wind which runs through the house at the end of the story when Mr. White wishes his son, Herbert, away.

Later, Herbert's suggestion that his father wish for £200 foreshadows the arrival of the money later on. In a tragic and ironic twist, however, Herbert also foreshadows his own demise and the £200 in compensation which is given to his parents.

These examples of foreshadowing help to build tension in the story and lead to the disturbing final scene in which Herbert is brought back from the dead only to be wished away by his father.

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What are examples of foreshadowing in the short story "The Monkey's Paw"?

In the short story "The Monkey's Paw," several examples of foreshadowing come to mind. The family is playing a game at night with little light waiting for an old soldier friend of the father.  With little light the room is dark and rather somber rather than light filled and cheery.  When the man arrives, the discussions are quiet and dinner rather brief.  When the topic of the monkey's paw begins, the soldier warns the family of dire consequences which have happened to anyone  who used the paw for the three wishes.  The soldier explains that, even though the wishes come true, they are accomplished by some horrible twist in the wish.  When the paw is left with the family as the soldier leaves, he reminds the family that he cannot be blamed for what happens as he has told them of the danger the paw brings.  When the first wish comes true with the death of the son, the reader can see that this will all end badly.

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What is an example of foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw"?

One example of foreshadowing involves Sargeant-Major Morris's attitude and response to Mr. White when he asks about the monkey's paw. Morris initially tells Mr. White that the monkey's paw is not worth discussing and the story is "nothing worth hearing." When Sargeant-Major Morris says that he has already had his three wishes granted, his face turns white and he begins to jitter as he takes a drink from his glass. When Mrs. White asks him if anyone else has used the monkey's paw, he proceeds to tell her,

"The first man had his three wishes. Yes...I don't know what the first two were, but the third was for death" (Jacobs, 4).

Morris then mentions that the monkey's paw has caused him "enough mischief" and throws it into the fire. Morris's obvious anxiety and body language while discussing the nature of the monkey's paw foreshadows its malevolent powers. The fact that the previous owner's third wish was for death also foreshadows that there is an evil curse on the paw. Through the use of foreshadowing, Jacobs's hints at the wicked nature of the monkey's paw, which will curse the White family whenever Mr. White makes his wishes.

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What is an example of foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw"?

There are many examples of foreshadowing in the short story, "The Monkey's Paw." Let me offer two of these. 

First, in the beginning of the story, Mr. White and his son, Herbert, are playing chess. Chess is a game of calculations and risks. Mr. White makes a poor move. Does he miscalculate, or take an excessive risk? We do not know for certain, but soon thereafter Herbert wins the game. This loss foreshadows that Mr. White will lose on a bigger scale. Mr. White will take a chance on the monkey's paw and make a wish that will bring suffering to his family. 

Second, after Mr. White makes a wish for 200 pounds, Herbert is skeptical. He says:

"Well, I don’t see the money," said Herbert, picking it up. "And I am sure I never will."

This is foreshadowing of what will happen to Herbert. He will not see the money, because he will be dead. In fact, it is his death that will ensure that the Whites will have the 200 pounds. 

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What are examples of foreshadowing in "The Monkey's Paw"?

Author W. W. Jacobs gives the reader plenty of forewarning about the events to come in "The Monkey's Paw." From the opening paragraphs, the reader is given clues that something ominous will soon happen. From the dark and gloomy night on which the visit from the sergeant-major takes place, to the "sharp and unnecessary perils" and the "fatal mistake" made during the chess game, we know that this is no normal evening. Sergeant-Major Morris reveals that the paw is dangerous, and that he has had his three wishes come true: They are too terrible for him to even discuss. He reveals that the first owner wished for death for his third wish, yet the Whites still desire ownership of the paw. Herbert sits by the fireplace, visualizing faces in the fire

... so horrible and so simian that he gazed at it in amazement.

When the "mysterious man" appears the next day, we know something awful has happened. The first wish, for 200 pounds, comes true in the form of compensation for Herbert's death. The other wishes can be guessed at, what with the grieving mother desiring that her son still be at her side. Even the final wish is not a total surprise, since the reader is already given clues to the awful return of the son that the second wish brings.

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In "The Monkey's Paw," how was foreshadowing used to hint at future events?

W.W. Jacobs' short story "The Monkey's Paw" is about an English family who come into possession of an Eastern "talisman" which destroys their lives. Foreshadowing is the use of clues and hints that suggest events that have yet to occur. There are at least four examples of foreshadowing in the story.

In the opening paragraph, Mr. White is described as a risk taker as he plays chess with his son Herbert. He regularly put "his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils..." Because of this character trait, he later takes the monkey's paw from the Sergeant-Major, despite warnings about its potential evil.

The Sergeant-Major foreshadows the tragic events to come as he explains about the first man who made wishes using the paw:

"The first man had his three wish, yes," was the reply; "I don't know what the first three wishes were, but the third was for death. That's how I got the paw."

Later, of course, the paw is responsible for the death of Herbert as he is killed in order to fulfill Mr. White's first wish.

More foreshadowing of impending doom is revealed in the final paragraph of Part I when Herbert imagines he sees "horrible" and "simian" faces in the fire. The next day Herbert meets his death while at work. When a representative of the company informs Mr. and Mrs. White of their son's death, he also brings 200 pounds, the precise amount Mr. White had wished for the night before.

The final bit of foreshadowing involves the way Herbert dies and his funeral. He was badly maimed when he got "caught in the machinery" so his body must have been terribly disfigured. He is buried two miles away from where the Whites live. Thus, when Mr. White wishes his son alive again he doesn't take into account the condition of the body and the distance from the cemetery. He eventually comes to the realization his reborn son will be a horrible monster and his last wish is for Herbert to go away as the living corpse knocks on the door.  

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