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Levi 1

Stephany Levi

Professor Kugeares

HUM 1020

2 Feb 2019

I. Intro

i. Thesis

II. Paragraph 1

i. Themes

III. Paragraph 2

i. Symbolism

IV. Paragraph 3

i. Morals

V. Conclusion

i. Restate thesis and summarize

While I appreciate that you created an outline, the content is ambiguous, and your use of lower

case alphabet doesn’t follow standard MLA outline format.

Short Story Analysis: The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs

What if there was a way somebody could have three wishes granted with a monkey’s

paw? “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs creates a horror-type short story with themes,

symbolism, and morals that clearly describe why a person should always be careful what they

wish for. short Intro, weak thesis.

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One thing “The Monkey’s Paw” has are a few different themes—fate, death, and family.

[best to pick and use ONE of these] “He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that

those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow” (Jacobs 2). [not needed when we are all

reading from the same options] This implies that the paw is evil, and any wish made will have

bad consequences. One cannot use magic, or in real life any type of cheating—for example,

gambling, just to make life easier for themselves. Every choice a person makes has the power to

affect the rest of their life. After a loved one passes away, people usually wonder if they could

have done anything to prevent the death. Mrs. White sees the death as the worst possible fate for

her son and she would rather have him alive—no matter what the cost. For Mr. White, on the

other hand, there is a fate far worse than death for his son, and that is possibly being some kind

of undead monster. “The first man had his three wishes. ‘Yes,’ was the reply, ‘I don’t know what

the first two were, but the third was for death. That’s how I got the paw” [who says this?]

(Jacobs 2). This statement foreshadows that death will occur in the story. “If you only cleared the

house, you’d be quite happy, wouldn’t you?” said Herbert, with his hand on his shoulder. “Well,

wish for two hundred pounds, then; that’ll just do it” (Jacobs 3). One of the most vital things a

family needs is a place to live, besides food and love. The Whites have to pay the bank every

month, or they will lose their home. They thought wishing for two-hundred pounds would take

away all of their problems, but in exchange for getting the money, Herbert dies. When Mr. and

Mrs. White find out Herbert has died, they will do anything to get him back. [they have their

serious regrets, remorse is keen] No amount of money is worth the loss of a loved family


The other thing “The Monkey’s Paw” does a good job portraying is symbolism.

[awkward wording] The paw symbolizes guilt. If the paw wasn’t in the situation, the Whites still
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would have found something to place the blame for Herbert’s death. [on what basis do you make

this claim?] The paw also symbolizes evil and vengeance. When the story says that Herbert sees

(or thinks that he sees) a monkey’s face in the fire after his father makes the first wish, the reader

assumes the author is talking about the poor monkey who lost its paw. One can infer that the

monkey’s anger contributes to the paw’s evil spirit since the monkey was so badly treated—

bringing bad luck to anyone who encounters the paw and gives in to making a wish.

At the end of the day,[trite cliché] the moral of the story is a person should always be

careful what they wish for: the wish just might come true. Other morals from the story can

include: [we only use a colon when a LIST of items will follow, not for one idea.] an

individual’s actions have consequences and that nothing is more important than family. Every

choice made by an individual has the impact on the rest of their life. One should always be

grateful for what they have, and achieve things the right and morally honest way. Cheating by

getting things easier is wrong because there will always be consequences.

In summary, W. W. Jacobs does a fantastic job illustrating themes, symbolism, and

morals through a horror-type short story titled, “The Monkey’s Paw.” Themes of fate, death, and

family are told throughout the story. The paw symbolizes guilt and evil/vengeance, and the moral

of the story ultimately is to be careful what one wishes for.

28/30 points

Prof Kugeares