The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs

Read and discuss classic short stories.
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Gustavsson
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Re: The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs

Post by Gustavsson »

This story always leaves me with a chill. Then I have to go read other lighter things to shake it off. But it makes me sad that they don't let Herbert in, even if he might have had a horrifying appearance.

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Post by teacher_jane1 »

I made a horrible mistake in reading this story to my students--they thought it would be a fun story like something from "The Jungle Book," and they were terrified! We recovered by reading "The Tell-Tale Heart" the next day with lots of screaming to let out their emotions, and now they love scary stories :)
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Post by Lovely_Loreley »

teacher_jane1 wrote:I made a horrible mistake in reading this story to my students--they thought it would be a fun story like something from "The Jungle Book," and they were terrified! We recovered by reading "The Tell-Tale Heart" the next day with lots of screaming to let out their emotions, and now they love scary stories :)
This made me laugh, it's so cute! What a great way to introduce them to scary stories; I love reading pieces that send the cold shiver down my spine. The Monkey's Paw was also one of my first experiences with the genre, and I was introduced to Poe around the same time :)
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Post by Tricia23 »

Great story, I really enjoyed it. Writing style very admirable and of course the superb ending that leaves one wondering and wanting more. It was well done.

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Post by Circling Turtle »

I haven't read this one for ages! I love the chess scene in the beginning. Such a chilling story... I would love to know the story behind Sargeant-Major Morris. I haven't read any of Jacobs' other writings, I'll have to hunt them down now...
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Post by dhaller »

Great story. Iconic.

I wonder if there are versions of this story in other cultures? Stories where the moral is explicitly, "Be careful what you wish for."

Didn't the original Grimm's Fairy Tales have similar morals?
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Post by metalheadbette »

I always loved this story. When I was young my mother bought me a book comprised of short, creepy stories and poems--and this was one of them, along with William Hope Hodgson's "The Voice in the Night." It's been a long time since I revisited it. Thanks for posting!

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Post by Dementia5 »

Like most in this thread, I found this tale to be timelessly entertaining. I think this story stands as one of the best examples of period piece horror. The best the genre has to offer.

I may well have read this story a hundred time in my life, it is nearly perfect. And what price, altering destiny, eh?

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Post by RooneysReviews »

I remember reading this in high school and it's just as terrifying now as it was then. Such an interesting spin of "be careful what you wish for." There's also a short film that was made based on this story, where once the wife opens the door, the couple realizes the light outside their house was banging against the side and causing the knocking. Of course, that leaves the reader wondering if the other events were just random as well... Guess we will never know!
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Post by radracquel14 »

I first heard of this short from the Thrilling Adventure Hour: Beyond Belief podcast and have been meaning to read it since then. It definitely lived up to the idea I had in mind, perhaps even surpassed it. I love when books/stories leave it open to the reader to decide the ending. It leads to interesting discussions and, hopefully, alternate ways of thinking.

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Post by josarjan »

It has been around 30 years since I last read this short story. It's one of those that keep you engaged and bitting your nails. Excellent classic!

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Post by Michelle8+ »

A good one! Be content with what you have!

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Post by powderblue »

Hadn't read this one in such a long time! It always brings chills down my spine, and it's also so heartbreaking. I remember knowing about the story, but I hadn't read it and one day I read Stephen King mention it (I can't remember if it was in Pet Sematary, which shows clear influences from this tale, or in his non-fiction book Danse Macabre), and I remember going to the library to read it and being thrilled and horrified by it at the same time.
It still has the same effect on me.

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Post by Clifora »

I've read a shorter version of this story before. It's basically the same idea, except that there isn't the 'wife' character in the story. This story sent shivers down my spine. It's really creepy, especially the ending, where you don't know who - or what - was knocking on the door!
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Post by fari30 »

This story gives me chills and I think it's really admirable how he got through his message and story so vividly and forcefully in a few short pages!
My weekend is all booked!

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