What is the purpose of the story, "The Monkey's Paw?"

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main purpose of the short story, “The Monkey’s Paw” is to explore the dangers of wishing. In the short story, Sergeant-Major Morris gives what seems like a fanciful tale about a magical monkey’s paw. According to the story, the paw can grant wishes, but Sergeant-Major Morris warns that the paw is dangerous. The Whites ignore this. Mr. Morris wishes for 200 pounds to pay off his house. Eventually the money comes, but at the expense of the death of their son. When Mr. Morris wishes for his son again, there is a knock at the door. The assumption is that it is their son, but the appearance of the son would be badly decayed as he has been dead for a week. The Whites finally wish for the knock to go away; it does.

The point of the story is that people may get what they want, but it comes at a cost. Is it worth it? The answer is obviously “no.” The point of the story, therefore, is simple: be careful what you wish for.