Greed is a desire that has been imprinted in men’s nature since the beginning of time. W.
W. Jacob’s short story “The Monkey’s Paw” is a piece that depicts and reawakens men’s thoughts and beliefs on the seemingly important factors in life. It captures a tragic look on the avarice that lays at the bottom of our hearts. Within the story, W. W. Jacob shows that greed drives men to want to acquire more than necessary, and that one harmless wish creates and intensifies the next, making men desire to achieve inhumanly exploits. Lastly, impulsive moves, done blinded by one’s acquisitiveness, lead to miserable consequences.
Therefore, the theme of this piece shows that greed and intense desires lead to unfulfilled expectations, with unintended consequences within the way. The piece “The Monkey’s Paw” insinuates within its plot that greed pushes men to aspire to get more than needed. In the short story, Mr.
and Mrs. White was leading a normal, uneventful life: a home, a son, a family… However, the introduction of “The Monkey’s Paw” in their life immediately altered their gratefulness to what they already possessed, as they wished to for a sum of money handed to them on a silver platter: two hundred pounds to pay off their debt. Despite the fact that the Whites did not entirely believe in the power of the monkey’s paw at the time, their first wish had enough true desire within it to reflect the greed that was so far trapped in their mind. In fact, the monkey’s paw was only a smoking gun to the explosion of longing and desire that was present within them, as the sheer fact that they made their first wish indicates the White’s hope that the talisman works and improves their already decent life. Therefore, greed, symbolized by the monkey’s paw, evokes the wanting to obtain more than absolutely indispensable. The catastrophe in which one mild act of greed magnifying and intensifying the next, making men want to acquire impossible things was also proven in “The Monkey’s Paw”. In the storyline, Mr. and Mrs.
White’s first wish was to earn two hundred pounds; this did come true, nevertheless accompanied by terrible results, as it killed their son, Herbert. The elderly couple is devoured by sadness and shortly after their first wish, wishes for Herbert back. This proves that even with the atrocious turnouts of their first wish, despite Herbert’s tragic death, the couple, especially Mrs.
White, is ready to compromise the consequences of her actions to obtain what she wants. She was driven by the greed to get her son back and longed for a second wish, one that is far more grave than their first one. Therefore, her interior craving for her son blinding her, Mrs. White was pushed to wish for a seemingly unachievable fulfillment: waking someone from the dead. Henceforth, greed is a wanting that is able to grow in strength gets stronger, capable of overruling logic itself.
The impulsiveness and recklessness, fueled by avarice and accompanied by unfavorable aftermath, is portrayed in “The Monkey’s Paw”. The author shows that Mrs. White was acting extremely spontaneously when wanting her husband to wish for Herbert back. She was in a frantic state, driven by her desire to get her son back.
In fact, Mrs. White states in the story “Why didn’t I think of it before?”, right before commanding Mr. White to wish to bring Herbert back.
This means she immediately executed her idea without considering it twice, pushed by her yearning to get her son. As a matter of fact, the story showed that Mr. White always and already had a impetuous mind from the beginning, a factor that was insinuated from his radical moves in chess, however, greed modified Mrs. White’s actions as well. In the end, the couple is left traumatized and depressed, in loss of their son and all wishes.
For these reasons, greed can turn one to act without reasoning and possess a negative effect on the outcome. The theme in “The Monkey’s Paw” is that greed has perilous, fervent powers that is able to overlook gratefulness, logic or thoughts. It urges men to crave for more that what they already have, causing a feeling of ungratefulness within them. It also pushes people to desire greater deeds each and every time, without considering the possibility of the wishes actually being achieved. Moreover, it fuels hasty and unplanned moves, driving situations for the worst.
To sum it all up, the message conveyed in the story “The Monkey’s Paw” is clear: greed is a fiery, yet dangerous desire that could overflow ones thought and mind, leading to unwanted results.