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Quotes

Quote #1

"Monkey's paw?" said Mrs. White, curiously.

"Well, it's just a bit of what you might call magic, perhaps," said the sergeant-major, offhandedly. (1.21)

Does Morris actually believe in magic, or is he just playing with the Whites?

Quote #2

"It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. [...] He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it." (1.26)

Why would a holy man make something evil? To teach people a lesson? In some ways this passage can be seen as a reflection of misconceptions about India in the early 1900s, and the public's fascination with stories of magic and mysticism from afar.

Quote #3

The soldier shook his head. "Fancy, I suppose," he said, slowly. "I did have some idea of selling it, but I don't think I will. It has caused enough mischief already. Besides, people won't buy. They think it's a fairy tale; some of them, and those who do think anything of it want to try it first and pay me afterward." (1.36)

The paw is closely associated with money. Morris wants to sell it. Mr. White, it seems, does actually pay him for it. And Mr. White's first wish is for money. Still, it's hard to say this is a story warning against greed, since all Mr. White wants to do is pay off his debt. Why stop at 200 pounds, after all?

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