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The Monkey's Paw (1902) - W. W. Jacobs

Related: 1900s literature - fiction - 1902 - monkey

"Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it." -- Anonymous

The Monkey's Paw (1902) - W. W. Jacobs [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Inspired by The Monkey's Paw (1902) - W. W. Jacobs

The Monkey's Paw is a short story by W.W. Jacobs, written in 1902. In the story, the paw of a dead monkey is a talisman that grants the possessor three wishes, but the wishes come with an enormous price.

The story is based on traditional stories in which three wishes are granted. There are always three wishes granted.

The first wish is made carelessly; it is granted, but in a horrific manner. In the W.W. Jacobs story, the wish is for wealth, but it comes in the form of a payment for the violent death of a loved one.

The second wish is made to try to correct the damages of the first wish.

The third wish is made in despair when the darker implications of the "corrective" second wish become evident.

At the end, only the first wish stands, and the other two wishes are wasted, cancelling each other out to prevent a greater horror.

In another sense, such stories resemble Faust stories, in which there is no way to craft a wish finely enough to prevent the Devil from thwarting the wisher. However, in theory, there would be no way to corrupt a wish for happiness, since any ill side effects would make the wisher unhappy.

In popular media

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monkey's_Paw [Dec 2005]

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