"the monkeys pow"w.w.jacobs and "the shape of the sword"jorge luis borges -complete analyze

analyze-summary-plot-point of view-theme -characters

2 Answers

  • jd
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The Monkey's Paw

    "The Monkey's Paw" is W.W. Jacobs' most famous story and is considered to be a classic of horror fiction. It first appeared in Harper's Monthly magazine in 1902, and was reprinted in his third collection of short stories, The Lady of the Barge, also published in 1902. The story has since been published in many anthologies, adapted for the stage, and made into films. "The Monkey's Paw" was well received when Jacobs first published it; the story garnered rave reviews from some of the most important critics writing at the turn of the century. The story was also very popular with readers.

    The story opens with the White family spending a cozy evening together around the hearth. An old friend of Mr. White's comes to visit them. Sergeant-Major Morris, home after more than twenty years in India, entertains his hosts with exotic stories of life abroad. He also sells to Mr. White a mummified monkey's paw, said to have had a spell put on it by a holy man that will grant its owner three wishes. Morris warns the Whites not to wish on it at all—but of course they do, with horrible consequences.

    Jacobs uses foreshadowing, imagery and symbolism in this story to explore the consequences of tempting fate. His careful, economical creation of setting and atmosphere add suspense to the tale, while his use of dialogue and slang (another Jacobs trademark) help readers to feel that the characters are genuine.

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    The Shape of the Sword

    Here a mysterious man with a crescent-shaped scar across his face tells how it was inflicted. He was a rebel fighting for Irish independence. One day a bright, young Marxist named Vincent Moon joined his group. Moon turns out to be a coward. In fact his cowardice turns into betrayal.

    As we reach the final sentences of the tale and the narrator chases Moon through the manor, in which the rebels were hiding, and he is in turn chased by the police, we begin to wonder how exactly the scar fits in. Finally the narrator grabs a sword - here our puzzlement climaxes - and cuts Moon's face. We are left with two avenues to reconcile this queer event, first the narrator's final admission that he is in fact Vincent Moon, but also a previous sentence that presents a more interesting (and not incompatible) perspective. The narrator already said: "Schopenhauer may have been right - I am other men, any man is all men, Shakespeare is somehow the wretched John Vincent Moon." And he is, perhaps, Moon and the narrator, and us, the readers (in Borges' "The Immortal" we meet Homer 700 years after he should have died).

    Schopenhauer thought our minds divide up the world into what we perceive, but what really exists is just one thing, a sort of cosmic force; he called it the Will. The variety of things we see is just our mind playing tricks on us, the world is one thing. The idea Borges is after is that our selves, our history dissolve back into emptiness, the Will, the logos, whatever mystery is their source.

    What's comforting about Borges? At the very least his tales are escapist fantasies that distract us from everyday worries by making us wonder at the metaphysical mysteries of the mind and world.

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  • djm749
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago


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