Monkeys Paw Compare and Contrast

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About this sample


Words: 631 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Words: 631|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Theme: The Danger of Tampering with Fate
  3. Theme: The Inevitability of Fate
  4. Character Analysis
  5. Narrative Structure
  6. Conclusion


The Monkey's Paw is a short story written by W.W. Jacobs in 1902. It tells the story of a magical monkey's paw that grants three wishes to its owner. However, as with all things that come with a price, the wishes have dire consequences. In this essay, I will compare and contrast the themes, characters, and narrative structure of "The Monkey's Paw" to explore the deeper meanings and implications of the story.

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Theme: The Danger of Tampering with Fate

One of the central themes in "The Monkey's Paw" is the danger of tampering with fate and the consequences of our desires. The characters in the story are tempted by the power of the monkey's paw to fulfill their wishes, but they soon realize that their desires have unintended and tragic consequences. This theme can be seen in the characters' actions and choices throughout the story. Mr. White, for example, wishes for two hundred pounds to pay off his mortgage, but the money comes at the cost of his son's life. The story serves as a cautionary tale, warning against the dangers of greed and the desire for instant gratification.

Theme: The Inevitability of Fate

In contrast, another theme in the story is the inevitability of fate and the powerlessness of humans to change their destiny. Despite their wishes, the characters in "The Monkey's Paw" are unable to alter the course of events. This theme is highlighted by the recurring motif of fate throughout the story. For instance, when the sergeant-major first introduces the monkey's paw, he warns the Whites about its power, saying, "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir...a very holy man...He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow." This theme of fate is reinforced by the tragic outcomes of the wishes, which ultimately cannot be undone.

Character Analysis

The characters in "The Monkey's Paw" also play a crucial role in shaping the story's themes and narrative. Mr. and Mrs. White, along with their son Herbert, are the main characters in the story. Mr. White is portrayed as a curious and adventurous man who is willing to take risks, while Mrs. White is more cautious and skeptical. Their contrasting personalities provide an interesting dynamic that adds depth to the story. Herbert, on the other hand, serves as a symbol of innocence and youth, which is tragically taken away when he is killed as a result of his father's wish. These characters represent different facets of human nature and serve to highlight the moral dilemmas and internal conflicts that arise from their actions.

Narrative Structure

The narrative structure of "The Monkey's Paw" also contributes to its overall impact. The story is divided into three distinct parts: the introduction, the development, and the climax. The introduction sets the stage and introduces the main characters, while the development builds suspense and tension as the characters make their wishes and face the consequences. The climax, which occurs when Mrs. White wishes for her son to come back to life, is the turning point of the story and leads to the tragic conclusion. This narrative structure helps to create a sense of anticipation and keeps the reader engaged throughout the story.

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In conclusion, "The Monkey's Paw" is a timeless tale that explores themes of fate, the consequences of our desires, and the powerlessness of humans to alter their destiny. Through its well-developed characters, thought-provoking themes, and effective narrative structure, the story offers a powerful message about the dangers of tampering with fate and the importance of accepting our limitations. Despite its supernatural elements, the story resonates with readers because it speaks to our universal fears, desires, and struggles. It serves as a reminder that sometimes, the best course of action is to let fate take its course.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Monkeys Paw Compare And Contrast. (2024, March 19). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Monkeys Paw Compare And Contrast.” GradesFixer, 19 Mar. 2024,
Monkeys Paw Compare And Contrast. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Monkeys Paw Compare And Contrast [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 19 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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