The Monkey’s Paw Summary Notes

The Monkey’s Paw Author

He was a prominent Edwardian horror and crime writer, playwright, and humourist. Jacobs was born in a part of East London, near the Thames. As a child, he was known to be rather shy, but he enjoyed traveling to visit his relatives, in East Anglia. After leaving private school at sixteen, he became a postal bank clerk. He then worked in the savings bank department. In 1885, he began to submit some of his writings to Black friars, The Idler, and Today. He was also published in the Strand. His works include Many Cargoes, The Shipper’s Wooing, and the short story collection-Sea Urchins and night Watches. Much of his writing was influenced by his youth, spent alongside the river and the characters he met there: stevedores, the derelict and criminal, civil servants, and travelers returning from the British colonies. Other works tended to the ma¬cabre and exotic; he was a favorite of Henry James, G.K. Chesterton, and H.G Wells.

The Monkey’s Paw Summary

Premise -” Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it.”
WILLIAM WYMARK JACOBS (1863-1943) was a prominent Edwardian horror and crime writer, playwright, and humourist. William Wymark Jacobs is best known for his short story ‘The Monkey’s Paw’. ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ is a supernatural short story, first published in England in the collection The “Lady of the Barge” in 1902. In the story, three wishes are granted to the owner of the monkey’s paw, but the wishes come with an enormous price for interfering with fate.

The story opens on a dark and stormy night as the three members of the White family relax inside their cozy house. Herbert White and his father are playing a game of chess while Mrs. White knits near the fire. After his son wins, Mr. White complains about the terrible weather and nearly deserted road they live near.

A family friend, Sergeant-Major Morris, arrives for a visit. Over whisky, he tells stories of his exploits abroad. Mr. White expresses interest in going to India, but the sergeant-major says he would be better off staying at home. At Mr. and Mrs. Whites’urging, Sergeant-Major Morris takes a small, mummified paw out of his pocket. He explains that a fakir (a mystic miracle worker) placed a spell on the paw to prove that people’s fives are governed by fete and that it is dangerous to meddle with fate. According to the sergeant-major, three men can wish on the paw three times each.

The sergeant-major himself has already had his three wishes, as has another man, who used his third wish to ask for death. The sergeant-major has considered selling the paw, but he doesn’t want it to cause any more trouble than it already has. Moreover, no one will buy the paw without first seeing proof of its effect. The sergeant-major throws the paw into the fire, and Mr. White quickly rescues it. The sergeant-major warns him three times to leave the paw alone, but he eventually explains how to make a wish on the paw.

Mrs. White says the story reminds her of the Arabian Nights and jokingly suggests that her husband with her a pair of extra hands to help her with all her work. The sergeant-major doesn’t find this joke funny, however, and urges Mr. White to use common sense if he insists on wishing. After supper and more tales of India, the sergeant-major leaves. Herbert says he thinks the sergeant-major is full of nonsense and jokes that his father should make himself an emperor so that he doesn’t have to listen to Mrs. White’s nagging. In mock anger, Mrs. White playfully chases her son.

Mr. White says he has everything he wants and isn’t sure what to wish for: Herbert says that two hundred pounds would enable them to pay off the money owed for the house. Mr. White wishes aloud for two hundred pounds as Herbert accompanies him with melodramatic chords played on the piano. Mr. White suddenly cries out and says that the paw moved like a snake in his hand. After Mr. and Mrs. White go to bed, Herbert sits by the fire and sees a vividly realistic monkey face in the flames. He puts out the fire, takes the monkey’s paw, and goes to bed.

Part II begins on the next morning, a sunny winter day. The room seems cheerful and normal in contrast to the previous evening’s gloomy atmosphere and the mummified paw now looks harmless.

Mrs. White comments on how ridiculous the sergeant-major’s story was but remarks that two hundred pounds couldn’t do any harm. They could, Herbert jokes if the money fell out of the sky onto his father’s head. Mr. White answers that people often mistake coincidence for granted wishes. Herbert then leaves for work.

Later that day, Mrs. White notices a stranger outside dressed in nice clothes. The stranger hesitantly approaches their gate three times before opening it and coming up to the door. Mrs. White ushers him in. He nervously states that he is a representative of Maw and Meggins, Herbert’s employer. Mrs. White asks whether Herbert is all right, and the representative says he is hurt but in no pain. For a moment, Mrs. White feels relieved, until she realizes that Herbert feels no pain because he’s dead. The representative says that Herbert was “caught in the machinery.” After a pause, Mr. White says that Herbert was the only child they had left. Embarrassed, the representative stresses that he is simply obeying Maw and Meggins’s orders. He then explains that the company will not take any responsibility for the death but will give the Whites two hundred pounds. Mrs. White shrieks, and Mr. White faints.

In Part JII, the Whites bury Herbert. Several days pass, and the couple feels exhausted and hopeless. A week after the burial,. Mr. White wakes up and hears his wife crying by the window. He gently urges her to come back to bed, but she refuses. He dozes off again until Mrs. White suddenly cries out that she wants the monkey’s paw. In hysterics, she tells him to go downstairs and wish Herbert back to life. Mr. White resists and tells her that Herbert’s death and the two hundred pounds they had received had nothing to do with his wish the previous night. Mr. White says that he didn’t want to tell her before, but Herbert was so mangled that he had to identify the body by looking at the clothes. Mrs. White doesn’t listen, however, and continues to insist on wishing Herbert back to life with the monkey’s paw.

Mr. White retrieves the paw from its place downstairs. Mrs. White orders him to make the wish two more times until he finally complies. He makes the wish, and as they wait, the candle goes out. They hear the clock, the creak of a stair, and the sound of a mouse. At last Mr. White goes downstairs. His match goes out, and before he can strike another, he hears a knock at the door. Another knock sounds, and Mr. White dashes upstairs. Mrs. White hears the third knock and says it’s Herbert. She realizes he hadn’t returned right after the wish had been made because he’d had to walk two miles from the graveyard to their house.

Mr. White begs her not to open the door, but she breaks free and runs downstairs. As she struggles to reach the bolt, the knocking becomes more insistent. Mr. White searches frantically for the paw, which had dropped to the floor. As Mrs. White pulls back the bolt, Mr. White finds the paw and makes a final wish. The knocking stops, and Mrs. White cries out. Mr. White dashes downstairs and sees that beyond the door, the street is empty.

The Monkey’s Paw Glossary

stevedore                    : person employed at the dock to load and unload ships
derelict                        : in a poor condition due to neglect and disuse
macabre                      : something with a quality that is disturbing and horrifying, as it concerns death
paw                             : An animal’s foot with claws
fakir                            : A religious monk who performs apparent magic
spell                           : spoken words having magical power
out of place               : in a situation where someone or something does not seem suitable
Arabian Nights          : A collection of fairy tales from the Persian, Indian and Middle Eastern countries
talisman                    : An object which is supposed to have magical powers and brings good luck
colouring                  : reddening; blushing
chords                      : musical notes
streamed                  : flowed; poured
break into money     : start spending the money
apon                        : Aprotective cloth worn in front of one’s own clothes, generally, while cooking
cemetery                 : burial ground; graveyard
coincidence             : chance; something happening , simultaneously as a matter of chance or luck
expected                  : Having an excited feeling about something that is going to be good

The Monkey’s Paw Questions & Answers

Guided Reading

Question 1.
What game were the son and the father playing? Who was winning the game?
Answer:
The lather and thes son were playing chess. The son was winning the game.

Question 2.
Who visited the family when they were playing a game?
Answer:
Sergeant-Major Morris, a family friend visited the family.

Question 3.
Why did the old man want to visit India again?
Answer:
The old man wanted to visit India to see old temples and fakirs and the street entertainers.

Question 4.
What powers did the monkey’s paw have?
Answer:
The Monkey’s paw had a spell put on it by an old fakir. He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives and that those who tried to change it would be sorry. He put a spell on it so that the different men could each have three wishes from it.

Question 5.
Why did the sergeant throw the monkey’s paw intc fire?
Answer:
The Sergeant threw the monkey’s paw into the fire because it had caused him enough trouble already.

Question 6.
What did the old man wish for, with the Monkey’s paw? Did he get what he wished for?
Answer:
The old man wished for two hundred pounds Yes, he got it.

Question 7.
What news did the stranger from Maw and Meggins bring to Mr. White’s house?
Answer:
The man from Maw and Meggins told Mr. and Mrs. White that their only son Herbert was caught in a machine and killed.

Question 8.
What idea did Mrs. White have, a few days after her son had passed away? Did Mr. White approve of the idea?
Answer:
Mrs. White thought of the idea to use the wish granting Monkeys paw to bring back the dead son to life. No, Mr. White did not , approve of the idea.

Question 9.
What do you think was Mr. White’s third wish?
Answer:
The author does not specify what Mr. Whites third wish was but we can assume that he wished whoever was knocking on the door should go away.

Question 10.
What did Sergeant-Major Morris have to say, about the magical powers of the monkey’s paw?
Answer:
Mr. White reminded Sergent Morris about the strange Monkey’s paw, that he had been telling him about, the day before sergeant v Me’-‘is felt that there was nothing worth to tell about it but it was just a bit of what people might call Magic. He told them that it looked just like an ordinary Monkey’s paw, dried to a mummy. But 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 the tho se who tried to change it would be sorry. The fakir had put a spell on so that three different men could each have three wishes from it.

The sergeant had got the monkey’s paw from a man who had wished and also been granted them The man had wished for death and that is how the Sergeant had found the monkey’s paw the sergeant had also been granted his wishes, but he had kept the paw as a souvenir. He had also thought of selling it because it had already caused him enough trouble. But people didn’t believe the magteal power of the paw thinking that it was a fairy tale. He threw the money’s paw into the fire. But Mr. White retrieved it from the fire the sergeant asks the old man to keep it and teaches him how to make wish with the paw. He alsks Mr. White to hold the paw in his right hand and state the wish out loud so that he can be heard the sergeant warns Mr. White to be careful while wishing and to wish for something sensible.

Question 11.
What was the discussion had by the family, which led to Mr. White wishing for two hundred pounds?
Answer:
After the sergeant left, the White family started discussing the monkey’s paw, Herbert felt that if the story of the monkey’s paw wasn’t true it would be useless to have it. He asked his father if had paid anything for the paw Mr. White told him that he had forced the Sergeant to accept some money; though he didn’t want it. The sergeant had again asked him to throw away the paw. Herbert was horrified and that it would never allow his father to throw it away, because they were going to be rich and famous and happy. He joked his father telling him wish to be a king to begin with, then Mr. White can’t complain all the time Mr. White was doubtful if he really wanted to wish for anything because they had everything they needed. Herbertreminded his father if he be happy if he paid up the two hundred pounds loan that the had taken to build their house. Mr. White made his first wish for the two hundred pounds. He was horrified when he felt the monkey’s paw. It wisted in his hand like a snake as he made the wish.

Herbert teased his father while going to bed saying that he (Herbert) expected father to find the cash tied up in a big tong in the middle of the bed, and something horrible sitting on top of the wardrobe watching him (his father) pocket his ill-gotten money.

Question 12.
What had happened to Herbert at the Maw and Meggings? What was the company offering as compensation?
Answer:
Herbert was caught in the machinery at Maw and Meggins and killed the company does not accept the responsibility for Herbert’s death. Although they didn’t believe that they have a legal requirement to make a payment to the old couple for the loss of their only son, they wished to present two hundred pounds, in view of their services.

Question 13.
What discussion between Mrs. and Mr. White led to Mr. White having to ask for his second wish?
Answer:
About a week after the old couple had buried their only son, Herbert, Mr. White suddenly woke up in the night. He didn’t find his wife beside him Mrs. White was standing that the bedroom window crying silently. He asked her to come back to the warmth of the bed as it was too cold. Mr. White told him that her son is now more colder than her and begins to cry again. Mr. White then falls asleep deeply in the warm bed. He wakes up with a start hearing his wife shouting wildly, ‘The Paw’.

Mrs. White asked her husband to give her the monkey’s paw immediately. He told her that it was in the living room, in the shelf over the fireplace she told him that she just thought of using monkey’s paw, and use the two remaining wishes, to bring Herbert back to life she pleaded her husband to get the monkey’s pow and wish herbert alive Mr. White held the monkey’s paw and wished his son alive again.

Question 14.
What do you think of Mr. White’s third wish and why do you think he wished for it?
Answer:
The author does not disclose Mr. White’s third and last wish. We can assume what the old man wished for. After he spelt his third wish, there was a fusillade of knocks on their door. His wife was trying to open the front door, so he held the monkey’s paw and frantically uttered his third and last wish.

Mr. White was under extreme pressue. His wife is trying desperately to open the door in the firm behalf that her son Herbert had come alive and knocking at the door. Mr. White also believed the it was indeed Herbert who was knocking at the door. He fronctically looks for the monkey’s paw and when he finds it hurriedly breathed his third and last wish, the knocking on the door suddenly stop. Then the old man seemed to have believed that it was Herbert knocking at the door. He might have imagined how Herbert would have looked and was horrified at the thought. It might have been anybody who knocked at the door but the author suggests that after Mr. Whites third wish the knocking stopped and when they opened the door thee was no one at the down. So we can just imagine for wonder who was at the door. The author ends the story with an element of suspense which keeps the reader guessing in wonder.

Question 15.
Discuss how the first wish of Mr. White was granted. Was it worth it?
Answer:
The Monkey’s Paw is an exciting and thrilling short story by William waymark Jacobs. On a cold winter night Mr. White and his son are sitting beside the five and playing chess while writing for Mr. white’s frined sergant Major Morris to arrive for dinner. Mr. White arrives and they sit down talking about old times.

Mr. White reminded Sergent Morris about the strange Monkey’s paw, that he had been telling him about, the day before sergeant Morris felt that there was nothing worth to tell about it but it was just a bit of what people might call Magic. He told them that it looked just like an ordinaiy Monkey’s paw, dried to a mummy. But 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 those. who tried to change it would be sorry. The fakir had pur a spell on so that three different men could each have three wishes from it. The sergeant had got the monkey’s paw from a man who had wished and also been granted them. The man had wished for death and that is how the sergeant had found the monkeys paw the sergeant had also been granted his wishes, but he had kept the paw as a souvenier. He had also thought of selling it because it had already caused him enough trouble.

But people didn’t believe the magteal power of the paw thinking that it was a faity tale. He threw the money’s paw into the fire. But Mr. White retrieved it from the fire the sergeant asks the old man to keep it and teaches him how to make wish with the paw. He alsks Mr. White to hold the paw in his right hand and state the wish out loud so that he can be heard the sergeant warns Mr. White to be careful while wishing and to wish for something sensible.

After the sergeant left, the white’s family started discussing the monkey’s paw, Herbert felt that if the story of the monkey’s paw wasn’t true it would be useless to have it. He asked his father if had paid anything for the paw Mr. White told him that he had forced the sergeant to accept some money; though he didn’t want it. The sergent had again asked him to throw away the paw. Herbert was horrified and that it would never allow his father to throw it away, because they were going to be rich and famous and happy. He joked his father telling him wish to be a king to begin with, then Mr. White can’t complain all the time Mr. White was doubtful if he really wanted to wish for anything because they had everything they needed. Herbertreminded his father if he be happy if he paid up the two hundred pounds loan that the had taken to build their house.

Mr. White made his first wish for the two hundred pounds. He was horrifored when he felt the monkey’s paw It twisted in his hand like a snake as he made the wish. Herbert teased his father while going to bed saying that he (Herbert) expected father to find the cash tied up is a big bag in the middle of the bed, and something horrible sitting on top of the wardrobe watching him (his father) pocket his ill – gotten money. Herbert was caught in the machinery at Maw and Meggins and killed. The company does not accept responsibility for Herbert’s death. Although they didn’t belive that they have a legal requirement to make a payment to the old couple for the loss of their only son, they wished to present two hundred pounds, in view of his services.

Question 16.
Discuss the turn of events which led to Mr. White’s second and third wishes.
Answer:
About a week after the old couple had buried their only son, Herbert, Mr. White suddenly woke up in the night. He didn’t find his wife beside him Mrs. White was standing that the bedroom window crying silently. He asked her to come back to the warmth of the bed as it was too cold. Mr. White told him that her son is now more colder than her and begins to cry again. Mr. White then falls asleep deeply in the warm bed. He wakes up with a start, hearing his wife shouting wildly, ‘The Paw’.

Mrs. White asked her husband to give her the monkey’s paw immediately. He told her that it was in the living room, in the shelf over the fire place. She told him that she just thought of using monkey’s paw, and use the two remaining wishes, to bring Herbert back to life. She pleaded her husband to get the monkey’s paw and wish Herbert alive, Mr. White held the monkey’s paw and wished his son alive again.

The author does not disclose Mr. White’s third last wish we can asssume what the old man wished for. After he spelt his third wish there was a fusillade of knocks on their door. His wife was tiying to open the front door, So he held the monkey’s paw and franctically uttered his third and last wish.

Mr. White was under extreme pressure. His wife is trying desperately to open the door in the firm behalf that her son Herbert had come alive and knocking at the door. Mr. White also believed it was indeed Herbert who was knocking at the door. He franctically looks for the monkey’s paw and when he finds it, hurriedly breathed his third and last wish, the knocking on the door suddenly stop. Then the old man seemed to have believed that it was Herbert knocking at the door. He might have imagined how Herbert would have looked and was horrified at the thought. It might have been anybody who knocked at the door but the author suggests that after Mr. Whites third wish the knocking stopped and when they opened the door thee was no one at the down. So we can just imagine for wonder who was at the door. The author ends the story with an element of suspense which keeps the reader guessing in wonder.

Question 17.
How is the expression “Be careful what you wish for” portrayed in the short story?
Answer:
WILLIAM WYMARK JACOBS (1863-1943) was a prominent Edwardian horror and crime writer, playwright, and humourist. William Wymark Jacobs is best known for his short story ‘The Monkey’s Paw’. ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ is a supernatural short story, first published in England in the collection The “Lady of the Barge” in 1902. In the story, three wishes are granted to the owner of the monkey’s paw, but the wishes come with an enormous price for interfering with fate.

The story opens on a dark and stormy night as the three members of the White family relax inside their cozy house. Herbert White and his father are playing a game of chess while Mrs.

White knits near the fire. After his son wins, Mr. White complains about the terrible weather and nearly deserted road they live near.
A family friend, Sergeant-Major Morris, arrives for a visit. Over whisky, he tells stories of his exploits abroad. Mr. White expresses interest in going to India, but the sergeant-major says he would be better off staying at home. At Mr. and Mrs. Whites’urging, Sergeant-Major Morris fakes a small, mummified paw out of his pocket. He explains that a fakir (a mystic miracle worker) placed a spell on the paw to prove that people’s fives are governed by fate and that it is dangerous to meddle with fate. According to the sergeant-major, three men can wish on the paw three times each. The sergeant-major himself has already had his three wishes, as has another man, who used his third wish to ask for death.

The sergeant-major has considered selling the paw, but he doesn’t want it to cause any more trouble than it already has. Moreover, no one will buy the paw without first seeing proof of its effect. The sergeant-major throws the paw into the fire, and Mr. White quickly rescues it. The sergeant-major warns him three times to leave the paw alone, but he eventually explains how to make a wish on the paw.

Mrs. White says the story reminds her of the Arabian Nights and jokingly suggests that her husband wish her a pair of extra hands to help her with all her work. The sergeant-major doesn’t find this joke funny, however, and urges Mr. White to use common sense if he insists on wishing. After supper and more tales of India, the sergeant-major leaves. Herbert says he thinks the sergeant-major is full of nonsense and jokes that his father should make himself an emperor so that he doesn’t have to listen to Mrs. White’s nagging. In mock anger, Mrs. White playfully chases her son.

Mr. White says he has everything he wants and isn’t sure what to wish for. Herbert says that two hundred pounds would enable them to pay off the money owed for the house. Mr. White wishes aloud for two hundred pounds as Herbert accompanies him with melodramatic chords played on the piano. Mr. White suddenly cries out and says that the paw moved like a snake in his hand. After Mr. and Mrs. White go to bed, Herbert sits by the fire and sees a vividly realistic monkey face in the flames. He puts out the fire, takes the monkey’s paw, and goes to bed.

Part II begins on the next morning, a sunny winter day. The room seems cheerful and normal in contrast to the previous evening’s gloomy atmosphere and the mummified paw now looks harmless. Mrs. White comments on how ridiculous the sergeant-major’s story was but remarks that two hundred pounds couldn’t do any harm. They could, Herbert jokes if the money fell out of the sky onto his father’s head. Mr. White answers that people often mistake coincidence for granted wishes. Herbert then leaves for work.

Later that day, Mrs. White notices a stranger outside dressed in nice clothes. The stranger hesitantly approaches their gate three times before opening it and coming up to the door. Mrs. White ushers him in. He nervously states that he is a representative of Maw and Meggins, Herbert’s employer. Mrs. White asks whether Herbert is all right, and the representative says he is hurt but in no pain. For a moment, Mrs. White feels relieved, until she realizes that Herbert feels no pain because he’s dead. The representative says that Herbert was “caught in the machinery.” After a pause, Mr. White says that Herbert was the only child they had left. Embarrassed, the representative stresses that he is simply obeying Maw and Meggins’s orders. He then explains that the company will not take any responsibility for the death but will give the Whites two hundred pounds.

Mrs. White shrieks, and Mr. White faints.
In Part III, the Whites bury Herbert. Several days pass, and the couple feels exhausted and hopeless. A week after the burial, Mr. White wakes up and hears his wife crying by the window. He gently
urges her to come back to bed, but she refuses. He dozes off again until Mrs. White suddenly cries out that she wants the monkey’s paw. In hysterics, she tells him to go downstairs and wish Herbert back to life. Mr. White resists and tells her that Herbert’s death and the two hundred pounds they had received had nothing to do with his wish the previous night. Mr. White says that he didn’t want to fell her before, but Herbert was so mangled that he had to identify the body by looking at the clothes. Mrs. White doesn’t listen, however, and continues to insist on wishing Herbert back to life with the monkey’s paw.

Mr. White retrieves the paw from its place downstairs. Mrs. White orders him to make the wish two more times until he finally complies. He makes the wish, and as they wait, the candle goes out. They hear the clock, the creak of a stair, and the sound of a mouse. At last Mr. White goes downstairs. His match goes out, and before he can strike another, he hears a knock at the door. Another knock sounds, and Mr. White dashes upstairs. Mrs. White hears the third knock and says it’s Herbert. She realizes he hadn’t returned right after the wish had been made because he’d had to walk two miles from the graveyard to their house.

Mr. White begs her not to open the door, but she breaks free and runs downstairs. As she struggles to reach the bolt, the knocking becomes more insistent. Mr. White searches frantically for the paw, which had dropped to the floor. As Mrs. White pulls back the bolt, Mr. White finds the paw and makes a final wish. The knocking stops, and Mrs. White cries out. Mr. White dashes downstairs and sees that beyond the door, the street is empty.

English Summary

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