The Monkey's Paw Essay

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Carl Mowery has a doctorate in rhetoric and composition and has taught at Southern Illinois University and Murray State University. In the following essay, he provides an overview of "The Monkey's Paw" and examines fire imagery in the story.

The English author W. W. Jacobs did most of his writing in a fifteen-year period around the turn of the twentieth century. Many of his stories were lighthearted tales about life on the English waterfront. But' "The Monkey's Paw," first published in 1902 in a collection called The Lady of the Barge deals with the ghastly and macabre. According to G. K. Chesterton, it rates very highly "among our modern tales of terror in the fact that [it is] dignified and noble." Chesterton says that Jacobs' "horror is wild, but it is a sane horror." This is in contrast to Edgar Allan Poe's tales of "insane horror."

Even though "The...

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This section contains 1,455 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Monkey's Paw Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Monkey's Paw from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.