The Monkey's Paw Themes

The Monkey's Paw Themes


The story never explicitly states that the paw was the reason for Herbert’s death, nor does it reveal whether the mysterious knocker at the White’s home when they wished for him t come back to life is actually him. Booth could be a coincidence, the money happened to be the amount they wished for, the knocking could be a stranger, animals, trick of nature, etc. This uncertainty leaves the reader’s questioning what to believe in and adds t tone o supernatural to the tale.


The Whites are a content, happy family. They are in want of nothing as Mr. White mention when he thinks of what to make his first wish. He wishes out of greed, not necessity. They face the consequences of upsetting an equilibrium and asking for too much. Even the second wish is selfish and not rational – purely driven by emotion and what Mrs. White wants. This greed leads to disappointment and the downfall of the Whites; greed and lust for something you don't need can lead to tragic consequences

Interfering With Fate

The story's main character, an elderly man named Mr. White, is told of a monkey's paw that has the power to grant three wishes. Despite being warned about the mysterious talisman, he gains access to the paw and wishes for money. His son then dies in an accident, and the family is given the money they wished for. This event emphasizes the story's theme, which is that interfering with fate, especially when driven by greed, leads to tragedy. The tale continues with the fulfillment of two additional wishes due to the supernatural force of the monkey's paw. The mysterious paw had a spell put on it by a fakir (holy man) from India who wanted people to understand the dangers of interfering with fate.

Dangers Of Wish Fulfillment

Reminiscent of the bilbilcal story of Adam and Eve, 'The Monkey's Paw' reminds readers to be careful what they wish for. The Whites’ downfall comes as the result of wishing for more than what they actually needed. Even though Mr. White feels content with his life—he has a happy family, a comfortable home, and plenty of love—he still uses the monkey’s paw to wish for money that he doesn’t really need. This wish comes true, at a steep cost. It also results in Mrs.White having complete faith in the paw and wishing for something with greater stakes. This wish too leads to unhappiness. The author skillfully illustrates the dangers of wishes which can come true in unexpected ways.

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