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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Monkey's Paw, Revised (Anything #3)

For the third anything post, I decided to share my revised Monkey’s Paw essay. I know that you (Mrs. Berkeley) have already read it, but I thought that maybe other people might want to read it just to see what other people did. Either way, here’s my revised essay:

Jack Goodenough
Mrs. Berkeley
English 9 (C)

The Power of Temptation

          Have you ever done something that you knew you shouldn't do, yet you still end up doing it anyway? And more than likely you end up regretting your decision? Have you ever wondered why you do that? In a situation like that, sometimes you are pressured by your friends. Other times, you just don't know what will happen, and your curiosity gets the best of you. The underlying cause of these examples is temptation. Everyone gets tempted sometime in life, and their lives are affected by the choices they make. W.W Jacobs does a great but subtle job of showing this. In the Monkey's Paw, Jacobs uses the dialogue to prove how the tragic events surrounding the monkey's paw are Mr. White's fault as he gave in to temptation and his own curiosity.

The tragic events of the monkey's paw are Mr. White's fault because he was given ample warning from the sergeant not to use the paw. The monkey's paw is able to grant any three wishes for three different people. The sergeant already had his three wishes granted and warned Mr. White not to use the paw, saying "Better where you are"(10) and “Nothing,...Leastways nothing worth hearing" (10). He is trying to hint to Mr. White that the monkey's paw carries sorrow and sadness, stating “those who interfered with it [fate] did so to their sorrow” (11), but Mr. White doesn't give up and persists that he should have it. Eventually the sergeant gives the paw to Mr. White and before leaving states “don't blame me for what happens” (13). The sergeant has given Mr. White plenty of warnings to avoid the paw, yet Mr. White refuses to listen. At this point, the sergeant is done trying to convince Mr. White that the paw is bad and tells him that if anything happens, it is his (Mr. White's) fault.

Herbert's death is Mr. White's fault as Mr. White already has everything he wants, yet he still chose to wish for more. After acquiring the monkey's paw from the sergeant, Mr. White is hesitant to see if the "magic" of the paw actually works. “It seems to me I've got all I want" (16), he says. “Well, wish for two hundred pounds” (16), replies Herbert. Mr. White is already well off, yet because of his own curiosity he still wants to test the paw and wishes for 200 pounds. He pays no heed to the warnings that the sergeant told him, nor does he listen to himself when he says he already has enough. The temptation of his own curiosity got the best of him, and his son died as a result. It is Mr. White's fault that Herbert died.

It is also Mr. White's fault that he brought Herbert back from the dead. Mrs. White really wants Herbert back, but Mr. White at first doesn't want to hear any of it. “Was that not enough?” (28), he responds to Mrs. White. Mr. White is beginning to realize that the monkey’s paw was not such a good thing after all, and has learned his lesson the hard way. However, Mrs. White insists; “Bring him back,...Do you think I fear the child I nursed?” (29). Even though Mrs. White does tempt him to wish, ultimately it was his decision to make, and he chose to bring Herbert back. Even though he knows this is a bad idea from past experience, he still goes on and makes his second wish. Again, wishing Herbert back is Mr. White's fault.

The thing is, why does Mr. White do all these things? He was given ample warnings from the sergeant but didn't adhere to them. He knew that he already had all that he needed but still wished for more. And he even knew from past experience that wishing was bad, yet he still wishes again! It is clearly Mr. White's fault that the tragic events happened. In all three examples, he was tempted by his own curiosity. Would the monkey's paw really work? Can I get 200 pounds? What would happen if I wished Herbert back? In the end, his curiosity got the best of him, and led to these tragic events. Yes, it was his decision and his fault, but put yourself in his shoes. What would you do if you were Mr. White?

Work Cited

Jacobs, W. W. The Monkey's Paw. Illinois: Project Gutenberg, 2004. iBooks file.

Anyway, I hoped you liked it and stay tuned for the next post!

-Jack Goodenough

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