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“The Monkey’s Paw”: How Characters Use Deceit and Manipulation on Each Other

Introduction

A manipulation is a form of influence that is neither rational nor coercion persuasion. This phenomenon can either be psychological or emotional, depending on what motivational factors are used. In most instances, it is aimed at achieving personal interests. Writers use the theme of deceit to teach the reader a lesson or change the audience’s mind and beliefs. “The Monkey’s Paw” by Jacobs is a classic short horror story that uses manipulation for character development and enhances the plot. Sergeant Morris, a friend of the Whites family, uses deceit to introduce the magical “monkey’s paw” to Mr. White. Each character finds the paw intriguing, and they are willing to do anything to possess the three wishes despite the consequences. This essay focuses on how each character, including Sergeant-Major Morris, Mrs. White, Mr. White, and Herbert, uses manipulation and deceit to pursue personal desires and goals.

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Sergeant-Major Morris

Sergeant-Major Morris uses manipulation to convince Mr. White to purchase the Monkey’s paw. He does this by presenting a fascinating story of a spell cursed by a holy Indian man on the item. It acts as the first incident of deceit in the story. An evident example of Sergeant-Major Morris’s manipulation can be found when he tries to destroy the item. This claim refers to the fact that the character “threw it upon the fire” (Jacobs). Even though it initially seems that Morris acts honestly to protect people from the paw’s detrimental impact, his deceitful intentions reveal in the next scene. When Mr. White saved the item, Sergeant-Major Morris immediately explained how to make it grant wishes and mentioned the following: “but I warn you of the consequences” (Jacobs). This explanation allows supposing that Morris’s attempt to burn the paw induced Mr. White to possess the item, meaning that the military man relied on deceit and manipulation to achieve his goal.

Mrs. White

Mrs. White uses manipulation to convince her husband to use the spell to bring back their son, who died in a factory accident, and the following will elaborate on this claim. It is worth mentioning that the woman relies on direct orders to achieve her goal. Even though Mr. White is afraid of asking the paw to reanimate Herbert, he finally articulates this desire because his wife keeps repeating: “Wish!” (Jacobs). Thus, one can state that Mrs. White is a straightforward character since she does not try to deceive others to achieve her goal. It seems that maternal love and anguish of bereavement scramble her brains, and she wants nothing else than meeting her son. The information above demonstrates that direct orders and dedication to the idea help Mrs. White manipulate her husband.

Mr. White

Mr. White uses both deceit and manipulation throughout the short story under analysis. On the one hand, he deceives his family by imitating love to her wife and son. The justification of this statement refers to the fact that Mr. White does not want to reanimate his son although he can do it and his wife is obsessed with this idea. Mr. White is afraid of this action, which allows for supposing that the relationships within the family are not perfect. On the other hand, the character relies on manipulation to ensure that the paw can bring benefits to him. It refers to his statement that “I don’t know what to wish for, and that’s a fact” (Jacobs). This claim denotes that Mrs. White and Herbert can sorrow for their husband and father, providing him with the freedom of action with the paw. Consequently, Mr. White can satisfy his interests without considering his family members’ wishes.

Herbert

Jacobs introduces Herbert as a youthful and enthusiastic care provider for his elderly parents. However, this fact does not prevent this character from manipulating his father. It refers to the fact that Herbert suggests that Mrs. White should “wish for two hundred pounds” to make the family “rich, and famous, and happy” (Jacobs). Even though it seems that this action aims at achieving positive outcomes for all, one can find deceitful intentions. It refers to the fact that Herbert might have believed that the paw would bring harmful results. That is why he made his father articulate the wish to protect himself from such consequences. However, this strategy is not successful for Herbert because he suffers the most in the short story.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the use of deceit and manipulation by characters mainly aims at fulfilling individual desires. Jacobs relies on these themes to develops his characters and explain their actions. Each figure uses this approach to meet their needs irrespective of the consequences. Furthermore, Jacobs depicts that characters can use different approaches to deceive and manipulate. For example, Mrs. White relies on direct orders, while the others use more indirect strategies. However, it is worth mentioning that any of these approaches leads to adverse consequences. Thus, the author uses deceit and manipulation to develop the plot and elaborate the main idea that warns the reader on the devastating implications of using magical spells to earn a fortune.

Work Cited

Jacobs, William W. The Lady of the Barge, The Project Gutenberg eBook, 2004. Gutenberg, Web.

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StudyCorgi. "“The Monkey’s Paw”: How Characters Use Deceit and Manipulation on Each Other." September 4, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-monkeys-paw-how-characters-use-deceit-and-manipulation-on-each-other/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“The Monkey’s Paw”: How Characters Use Deceit and Manipulation on Each Other." September 4, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-monkeys-paw-how-characters-use-deceit-and-manipulation-on-each-other/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '“The Monkey’s Paw”: How Characters Use Deceit and Manipulation on Each Other'. 4 September.

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