On Tuesday, we summarised ‘The Monkey’s Paw’, W. W. Jacobs’ popular and widely anthologised short horror story about a mummified paw which has the power to grant three wishes to three men. Now, it’s time to offer some words of analysis and commentary on this intriguing and brilliantly constructed tale.
By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)
‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by W. W. Jacobs (1863-1943) is a miniature classic of the horror genre. In just ten pages, Jacobs provides suspense, a building sense of menace, and real drama, as well as bringing in such themes as family tragedy and the problems with imperialism. Mainly, though, it’s a classic tale of three wishes, which has been parodied and retold many times since (including in The Simpsons).