Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs

The Monkey's Paw by W.W Jacob is a cleverly written short story , which gives the reader a surprisingly interesting thread of horror till the end . The story is explained by three parts.

Part I
     The story begins with Mr. White playing chess with his son Mr. Herbert and Mrs. White knitting by the fire . They are visited by a man named Sergeant-Major Morris , who appears to be a friend of Mr. White . They proffer him a seat by the fire and whiskey to make him comfortable. The sergeant speaks of wars , plagues and the adventures he had made, to the White family who were listening to him enthusiastically. Mr. White expresses his desire to go to India, to see the temples and fakkirs and enquires about a monkey's paw that the Sergeant had mentioned to him earlier.The Sergeant-Major shows them a mummified monkey's paw and tells that it can grant three wishes to three separate men , as it has spell on it by a fakkir and he created it, to teach people not to interfere with their fate . The curious Mrs. White asks whether the Major's wishes did come true . The major gives a positive reply and tells he received it from an another man whose third wish was death. The sergeant throws the paw into the fire but Mr. White snatches it . The Sergeant Major warns them to destroy it and not to blame him for whatever happens if they use it. He also tells them to wish for something sensible and leaves after the dinner. Mr. White says he is content and has no idea what to wish for . Herbert tells to wish for two hundred pounds and Mr. White does so . Mr. White becomes frightened saying the monkey paw moved but nothing happens .

Part II
     Herbert leaves for work in the morning . After a while , Mrs. White sees a man walking hither and thither in front of their gate . She notices that the man is well dressed and becomes anxious thinking he might be connected with two hundred pounds they had wished for. The mysterious man comes in , saying he is from Maw and Meggins, where Herbert worked. The gloomy face of the man makes them stressed. The man says their son was caught in the machinery and is dead . He offers a sum of compensation from the company, for Herbert's services and the amount is two hundred pounds.

Part III
     The house is silent as grave, after Herbert's funeral. They long for something good to happen to forget the solitude. Days pass by. At an another ordinary night, Mr. White hears his wife shouting for monkey's paw . Mrs. White realizes that the paw can grant two more wishes and she wants their son Herbert back from death. Mr. White becomes terrified imagining how Herbert would look if he comes back to life , as he remembers Herbert's horrible state before the burial and disagrees with wife. However, he finds the talisman and makes the wish on wife's request. They wait for a while and goes back to the bed later, thinking it was a failure. Then they hear a knock at the door. Mr. White neglects it saying it could be a rat. On hearing more knocks , Mrs. White goes to open the door thinking its their son whereas the scared Mr. White searches for the paw to make an another wish, to avoid the sight of his mutilated son. The story ends when Mrs. White opens the door to find nobody but the deserted street and is comforted by her husband.

     The story sounds ordinary in the beginning. When the Sergeant-Major brings the magical monkey's paw, the reader also becomes anxious to know its power. The Sergeant-Major speaks of the man who owned it first. He says the first man's last wish was death which makes the reader curious to know why anyone would make such a wish. The Sergeant's warns them repeatedly on not using it and tries to destroy it. It indicates the jeopardies and fear he had known. Mr. White finds himself content and happy as the way they are and bewilders what to wish for. Then they ask for two hundred pounds which they receive with a grief news. Their situations are changed upside down over night. Though, Mr. White considers it to be a coincidence, the reader can feel the horror in this incident. A thought of never to play with the fate passed my mind and imagined how dreadful and unexpected it can be ,as I finished reading part II . The last part events are taken place at night. The description of darkness and the strong windy night and the continued knocks at door passes a shiver in mind and body. Mr. White's fearful thoughts of Herbert's mutilated body makes us horrified. Mrs. White looks out through the window to know who stands outside. It baffles the reader's imagination with an image of a Zombie Herbert and an ordinary Herbert. The reader holds the breath reading Mr. White's struggles to find the paw in the darkness and Mrs. White's efforts to open the bolt, bewildering what will happen first and feels comfortable like Mr. white as they find nobody at the door. The story ends there but leaves us wondering who it could be. Was it the wind or a Zombie or a normal Herbert or something else unexpected?. The man's hunger for more comforts and luxuries can be seen in this story. We live a content life. But the greed brings disasters into it. Blame your mind for any horrors in life. Make sure no evil lurks there and learn to be happy as you are!.

Happy Reading!!!