Danger Of Temptation In The Monkey's Paw

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“Sometimes, no matter how bad you want something it just does not become possible” (citation). In life everyone wants and thinks they can get whatever they want, but thinking too big will make your dreams very unlikely. In W.W Jacobs short story, “The Monkey's Paw”, the White’s family are awaiting a good friend of Mr. White’s, Sergent-Major Morris. When visiting he brings a monkey’s paw from his tour in India and shows it to the family. While advising them not to use it, Morris tells them that the paw has the ability to grant three wishes, but also emphasizes the catastrophic side effects. Mr. White ignores his advice and, within their first wish, they find out about their sons fatality. Through Mr. White, Jacobs develops the idea that when an individual is faced with temptation, one may react by the influence of greed, resulting in creating one’s own adversity and the destruction of self.

Mr. White is a man who believes he is always right and can never be defeated. He would completely disregard his mistakes and never take responsibility for his actions. In the exposition of the story, Mr. White and his son, Herbert were playing a game of chess. During the game Mr. White makes an incurable move that will cost him the game but hopes nobody notices it. The inevitable happens and his son Herbert ends up winning the game. Mr. White quickly and efficiently manages to change the topic from the losing the game of chess to where they live. This shows what kind of man Mr. White truly is. He finds joy in being right and when he is not, he never wants to take responsibility for his wrong-doings. Mr. White is also a very careless man who takes many risks. In the game of chess it requires a careful strategy and the ability to predict consequences of your actions. When Sergeant-Major Morris introduced the monkey's paw to Mr. White, he warned him about potential consequences when used. When heard by Mr. White he completely disregarded what he said and continued with his wishes. This demonstrates Mr. White’s negligence. Mr.White could not resist the temptation of the paw, showcasing what is really important to him, which is power. He is clearly warned about the repercussions of the paw but continues resulting jeopardizing his family’s well being.

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Mr. White has everything he has ever wanted, but when encouraged by greed he is tempted to use the paw to wish for the unnecessary. In the text, Mr. White says that he has everything he needs and is having trouble of what to wish for. His son, Herbert suggests to wish for two hundred pounds and Mr. White agrees. This demonstrates his extremely greedy attitude. He was not able to think of a wish but when his son recommends the money, he impulsively acts upon by the influence of greed. This shows how much power the paw really has. Mr. White wishing for money shows that that’s all he cares about in life, he doesn't have real values and morals. The paw has the ability to make people wish for things with or without knowing about the consequences. The paw symbolizes power, greed, and brings out selfishness and greed out of the most satisfied people. Mr. White’s wish ends up being granted but the unexpected consequence occurs. His poor decision of making a little wish led to the death tragic death of his son. When the wish was made for two hundred pounds, the very next morning one of Herbert’s employers came to the White’s house to inform them about the death of their son with a two hundred pound compensation to go along with it. AfterPost to the event, Mr. White finally realizes that the monkey’s paw is evil and cursed and any wish asked end’s with a tragedy. He realizes that his greed and selfishness created his own despair in his life.

Mr. White now knows about the evil in the paw, he tries to deny his actions by wishing for his son back. Nonetheless Mr.White is afraid of his sons physical state when he returns back to life. Sergeant Morris warns Mrs. White that they will not be able to recognize their son only by the clothes he wears. Of course Mr. White pressures him into granting his second wishth which he does. This shows how far Mr. White will go before ever taking liability for his actions. Mr. White had a chance to dispose of the paw, but instead he kept it. His tremendous selfishness and greed forbade him from admitting his mistakes and understanding the repercussions that come from his actions. Readers may infer that after wishing to bring his son back, Mr. White felt the need to undo the wish, leading to more misery in his life. In the story, as Mrs. White was having trouble opening the door Mr. White was desperately looking for the monkey’s paw and when he found it he wished his third and final wish. He wished to have the knocker on the door disappear, leading to Mrs. White left in complete shock. This is significant to show Mr. Whites helpless attempt to deal with the repercussions he made. He ended up failing which resulted in sufferingrage and extreme woe. Mr. White believed that instead of taking liability he could take back his actions hoping everything would go back to normal but ended up in a horrific disaster.


When an individual is faced with temptation, one may react by the influence of greed, resulting in creating one’s own adversity and the destruction of self. Mr. White was influenced and blinded by greed into taking the monkey’s paw which led to the cessation of the his son. He tries to deal with the repercussions but could not handle it resulting in pure failure. Greed is the inventor of injustice as well as the current enforcer.

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Danger Of Temptation In The Monkey’s Paw. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/danger-of-temptation-in-the-monkeys-paw/
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