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The Monkey's Paw Instant Short Story Text & Lesson Plans

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Item #:619ISS
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The Monkey's Paw Instant Short Story Text & Lesson Plans


Instant Resources for The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs!


Whether you're looking for a short story to pair with the novel you're teaching, or you need a 2- to 3-day sub plan to use with the stories in your textbooks, Prestwick House Instant Short Story Packs go beyond basic comprehension to help students learn how to analyze literature. 

Each downloadable pack addresses key skills through 5-10 standards-based analysis questions by guiding students through a series of scaffolding graphic organizers and in-class activities. 

This Instant Short Story Pack for The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs includes:

  • Scaffolding graphic organizers and in-class activities
  • Standards-based objectives
  • Introduction and pre-reading notes
  • Complete short story text
  • Rigorous analysis questions
  • Detailed teacher's answer guide


About The Monkey's Paw

Arguably W. W. Jacobs’s most famous story, “The Monkey’s Paw” was first published in Harper’s Magazine in September 1902. The story was well received, and Jacobs included it in his collection The Lady of the Barge.

“The Monkey’s Paw” has been adapted dozens of times into plays, movies, television episodes, radio shows, and even an opera. The story illustrates the maxim “Be careful what you wish for” and has further inspired numerous works that are not direct adaptations. This story of the wish-granting talisman and the wishes that go horribly wrong has become well integrated in American culture, but remember that Jacobs is British, and the story is set in a community in Britain.

In crafting his story, Jacobs uses a common convention in fairy tales and folklore—the pattern of three. Mrs. White recognizes the pattern as soon as she hears that the mummified paw will grant its owner three wishes. “Sounds like the ‘Arabian Nights,’ ” she says. By using this familiar pattern of threes, Jacobs places his readers safely in a familiar story structure—and then surprises them with the twist ending.

Jacobs also draws on a number of other conventions common to horror stories, but it is important to remember that some of these conventions were used much less frequently before the popularity of “The Monkey’s Paw.” The story opens on the clichéd “dark and stormy night.” The Whites live in an appropriately remote location. Their villa is named for a popular garden plant—that just happens to produce a poisonous fruit. At the story’s most tense moment, the silence is intensified by the ticking of a clock, and the stairs creak mysteriously.

“The Monkey’s Paw” is more than just a horror story, though. It is a parable that teaches an important lesson about being satisfied with what one has and tempting fate by wishing for things one doesn’t necessarily need or want. Jacobs often used his tales to comment on human nature or social customs.