Summary of “The Monkey’s Paw,” by W.W. Jacobs
The short story entitled “The Monkey’s Paw,” by W.W. Jacobs, is a suspenseful story written in third-person perspective. It teaches the reader not to tempt fate and not to make important decisions lightly.
The story begins with a family relaxing in the parlor of their home on a cold and windy night. Mr. White and his son, Herbert, are playing a game of chess while Mrs. White sits by the fire and knits. They are expecting a visitor but are skeptical of his arrival due to the rough weather conditions.
Just then, Herbert hears the gate open and footsteps coming toward the door. The visitor introduces himself as Sergeant-Major Morris. When Mr. White pours him a drink, he inquires about a monkey’s paw Morris had told him of a few days previously. At first, he tries to dismiss the topic and steer the conversation in a different direction. Mrs. White, however, is intrigued and insists the go on.
He tells them that at first glance, it just looks like a mummified hand, but a spell had been cast upon it by an Indian holy man. He pulls out the paw and explains that it will grant its owner three wishes and that he himself had wishes granted. Then, abruptly, he throws it in the fire. Horrified, Mr. White pulls the paw out of the fire and tells Morris he will keep the paw. Morris tries to get him to put it back into the fire, but Mr. White refuses. Morris then warns them that if they do wish to do so wisely and with caution; then, he leaves.
Mr. White decides to wish for two hundred pounds to pay off his house. When nothing happens by breakfast the next morning, they are all convinced that Sergeant-Major Morris is simply very good at storytelling. Then, laughing about the whole thing, Herbert leaves for work. That afternoon, a man from the company where Herbert works comes to the house to inform Mr. and Mrs. White that Herbert has been caught in the machinery at work and has died. The man also tells them that...