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teacherscribe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have always liked this story for several reasons.  First, I like the irony.  The son finally convinces his father to wish for money, only to lose his life at work in order for his father to get the money in the form of compensation.  Second, I like the power of suggestion.  In the final scene, where the mother has wished for her son's return and the son, presumably, is pounding on the door, we can only imagine what is really out there on the front step.  How mutilated is he from his accident?  What intentions does he have?  We never know, though, because the father uses the final wish to get rid of whatever was on the front porch.  Yet, we are left wondering just what was out there.  Finally, I like the famous quote, "He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."  This reveals a theme in the story: fate vs. freewill.  How many of us would love to have the chance to wish for something and have it granted.  But at what price?  Maybe we should be happy with the things we are blessed with instead of trying to manipulate fate.

brendawm eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Monkey's Paw" is a classic horror story; this is part of its appeal to most readers, including myself.  This story picks at the mind of the reader and that secret part of us that desires to control our destiny or our "fate."  There is also a part of us that likes to be scared, and what could be scarier than the idea of making a wish and having that wish come true at the loss of a loved one's life.  To make it even more terrifying, add to that the idea of bringing a mangled body back to life and have it pounding at your door.  Pretty frightening, huh, but still, very cool and very good reading.