“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W.Jacobs is a story about a family that has their life thrown into turmoil when sergeant-major Morris (a family friend) comes to dinner with a curious item. The paw of a monkey that grants wishes but causes horrific consequences. During this story there are many examples of balance. Balance is a key idea during this story and is evident through the way the paw works. Just as the relationship between the son and father is symbolic of balance, and many other isolated examples also have hints of balance.
In “The Monkeys Paw” the paw can grant three wishes to three different people (Jacobs). The use of three shows itself throughout the story and in Christian beliefs three is associated with the holy trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost) which is considered to be perfect balance. Terrible consequences fallow having your greatest wish granted the paw balances out the good with bad (Jacobs).The paw seems to lose power as it goes on granting wishes making its punishments less and less ruthless punishments until it finally grants a “guilt free” wish because the wish itself brings balance to the situation, or maybe the paw just showed some sympathy for a grieving father (Jacobs).
This relationship between the father and the son itself can be taken as a symbol of balance for each one is the conflicting personality to bring balance to the household. Where the father is very traditional and reserved his son is a man of new-fangled ideas and humor. Also when the paw is first mentioned the son and father have different reactions. The father keeps a cool head whereas the son is very obvious with his excitement with his reaction of grabbing the paw and exclaiming ‘And what is there special about it!?”(Jacobs). Once the son is gone the father changes to find more balance he is less reserved among other things so the balance will be closer (Jacobs).
Other incidents are when balance is perceived. How the paw spreads out its wishes...