Themes And Motifs In The Story The Monkey's Paw
William Wymark Jacobs was born in 1863 in London, England. He is a short-story writer. In 1896, he created his first volume, Many Cargoes and it was a major success. However, he is best known for his horror story that is called “The Monkey’s Paw” that was first published in 1902. It outstands all the short stories written by other authors. Indeed, this short story should remain in the course pack due to the historical events, the motifs, and the use of poverty in the story. Jacob uses important historical events to link the characters in the story. The motifs of the groups of three and the cold wind are expressed in the story. Also, he uses poverty to demonstrate the risks that the citizens are taking to earn money and the significance of family in the story. The author uses important historical events to link the characters background, because he wants to show to the readers about how the society was back then.
Jacobs’s story takes place during the period called “The Victorian Era.” It is a period where the British being extremely greedy. During this time, the British East India Company took control of India. A large amount of rebellions made by the Indians and the wars for the territory explains why British soldiers were in India. It lasted 200 years. In the story, when Sergeant Major came to visit the White’s Family, Mr. White says to his family: “Twenty-one years of it (…) When he went away he was a slip of a youth in the warehouse.” (60 Jacobs). With the help of the historical event, we can understand why Sergeant Major was away for 21 years. Furthermore, during the same period, the working condition was terrible. Indeed, workers get more often caught in the machinery than today’s date. They do not have any safety when working. Similarly, in the story, Herbert gets caught in the machinery and dies. When the visitors came to visit Mr. White, they said: “He was caught in the machinery” (64). The historical fact like the Indian rebellion and the working condition are one of the reasons that makes this story interesting and it should remain in the course pack.
Furthermore, the author portrays the motifs of the groups of three and the cold wind are another reason for why this makes the story more interesting. The structure of the story is full of number 3. The number represents bad luck comes in threes. When Major Morris shows to Mr. White the monkey’s paw, he tells Mr. White three times no to wish on the paw (61), because the paw is cursed, and it will bring bad luck to the family. Moreover, the cold wind is constant throughout the story. The wind is a foreshadowing of bad luck. Also, it is a warning to the White’s as they interfere with fate. In the story, when someone comes at the door of Mr. White’s house, there is always bad luck. One of the moments was when Sergeant Major brings the paw to the White’s house, he shows to Mr. White and says:” Hold it up in your right hand and wish aloud, but I warn you of the consequences” (61). Then author’s ability to demonstrate the motifs of the groups of three and the cold wind in his story is why we should keep the story in the course pack. The author uses poverty to demonstrate the risk taking to earn money and the significance of family in this story are more reasons for this short story to be interesting and remain in the course pack.
For the people who struggle with money, they are willing to take any risks to earn more money even if it is a dangerous job. When Mr. White had the monkey’s paw, he says clearly: “I wish for two hundred pounds” (62). Mr. White is willing to take the risk even though the paw is cursed, and it could bring him a negative consequence. On the other hand, poverty brings the family closer. Indeed, there are many families where they could not afford any luxuries. Therefore, their family values much more. In the story, when Herbert dies, Mrs. White says to Mr. White that she wants him to wish their son back to life. Mr. White takes the paw and says: “I wish my son alive again” (66). Even though it could have bad consequences, they are willing to take the risk because they have a strong bond and they care about him. Overall, the author uses poverty to show to the readers about how poor civilians will take dangerous risks to earn money and how family is important to them.
The story should remain in the course pack because he uses the past to relate to the story plot, its motifs and the use of poverty in the story. Jacobs uses the past periods to demonstrate the storyline, the motifs of the groups of three and the cold wind along with poverty for which poor families will do anything to earn money even if it is not safe and being poor brings the family to have a stronger relationship. The purpose of this story is to explore the dangers of wishing with the use of the paw.
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