What is the role of fate in the lives of the White family? (This is for help with a 2-minute speech)

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have changed the topic from Literature to "The Monkey's Paw," although you did not specify the title in your question. As I understand the story, the Whites did not suffer their tragic loss because it was predestined by fate but because they tried to interfere with their fates by making a wish for the two hundred pounds. Truthfully, this part of the story is hard to understand. This is how the sergeant-major explains it early in the story:

"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."

So what happened to the Whites was a sort of punishment for trying to interfere with their fates. The punishment was caused by the fakir putting a spell on the monkey's paw. But since he was "a very holy man," it seems that he was able to call upon supernatural forces such as a Hindu deity to exact the punishment. The implication seems to be that people should not try to change their lives but should accept their positions in the world with patience and humility.

Fate did not play a direct role in the story. It was the attempt to change their fates that brought about disaster. This story exaggerates and dramatizes a very real truth about life. We often cause ourselves problems and even tragedies by wishing for things without considering the possible negative consequences. Wanting things and wishing for them are essentially the same.

This is a wise observation by Benjamin Franklin:

All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse.


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sunithasrivastava | Student

According to Hindu religion, what will happen to us in the future is pre-decided. If one tries to mend it,then, only the sufferings will be their cup of tea. This is what said by the old fakir, who created a spell on the monkeys's paw. In his words, fate ruled pepole's lives and those who interferred with it have part of their sorrow.

Mr.White's family was leading a very happy life until they came to know about the paw and the very fact was known to sergent Morris, so he didn't not wish to discuss regarding it. But later on, he was forced to expose the truth of the paw. From there onwards their sorrow began.

'The greed' interferred their fate and thereby miseries started.They became blind to the fact that needs can be fulfilled but not wants as we see the same thing in Pakhom's life. Even though the wish was for fun and to test its genuineness, they had to face the untold story. Somewhere even the fate hints beforehand, as Herbert says he may not be there to see the money and the same comes true. The outcome of the wish was understood by Mr.White so he refused to wish,the second wish and see any other untoward incident. But the affection for the son,had driven the mother mad.It was pre-determined that if they try to wish for the second wish the consequences would be horrible, and so it happened. The fakir had set the spell in such a way that, their(the three men who wanted to wish from the paw) last wish would be to get relief for themselves, whether in the form of death or life. The first man chose death and Mr.White life.

arhamarfeen | Student

HEy Hana Raza Thanks for putting in the question...now i have the speech without doing anything....Muahahahahah!!!!!


Arham Arfeen

saniashahid | Student

Thankkk u hanaaa <3 

hfoshizzle99 | Student

me too :)

samsoniterocker98 | Student



samonedirection98 | Student

Ahahahahjahah same so do I -Humna saad 

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The Monkey's Paw

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