This Halloween week, my son’s English teacher is having her students read the short story, THE MONKEY’S PAW, by W.W. Jacobs. Have you read it lately? Or, ever?
I just did.
First published in 1902, THE MONKEY’S PAW is so riveting I wish I, in my 2021 of Covid-induced-writers-block, could follow W.W. Jacobs on Twitter, showing him my support of his writing with repeated red heart ‘likes’. I will make do with reading/studying the story. Repeatedly.
W.W. Jacobs’ knack for concise scenes conveying EVERYTHING moving/relatable about his characters, setting, his–I’ll just go deep into cliche and state ‘the author’s keen regard’ for foreshadowing’–is so very 21stc! He would be snapped up by a literary agent immediately. Rightly so. I jumped from the story’s opening of a cozy family idyll into a horror that stressed me out because I didn’t want anyone to die (hence that aforementioned foreshadowing inherent in the story from title through to everything getting pretty heated up).
Mr. Jacobs and his editor, if he had one, and if not, then just Mr. Jacobs, nailed tragedy with a precision I admire and hate (because his writing works so well, it can cause physical discomfort and audible cries of NOOOOOOO).
I discussed the tragic elements of the story over dinner w/my teen, asking, basically: were you as disturbed/thrilled as I was with regards to who/what was knocking at the front door and who/what might the son have looked like if he’d been allowed to enter, asking did the goofy dad save or hurt his entire family, and, further, ultimately, and answers to my questions are a another blog post,if ever–NO ELBOWS ON THE DINNER TABLE, I said to my son, receiving this respose: Your elbows are on the table, Mom.
Here is the EnglishClub.com link so you can read it, too.