Comparison of Monkeys Paw and Three Wishes

11 November 2018

The Monkeys Paw by W.W Jacobs and The Third Wish by Joan Aikmen are both similar and different in many ways, but there is one thing about these two short stories that makes them comparable and that is the motif of three wishes. Each of these stories has differences either through the characters or through the message each story brings. But, these stories also share some of the same elements such as the motif of three wishes. This quality is particularly important each of the stories and would change the stories quite a lot if this were taken away. Each of these stories has qualities that make them the same and qualities that are unique to the story alone.

The Monkeys Paw and The Third Wish both have characters that are unique to their story and define the course the story takes, though for each of these stories the characters take on different traits however some they share. In The Third Wish the main character, Mr. Peters, is a wiser man than The Whites who are the main characters of The Monkeys Paw. This is showed when Mr. Peters remembers that people who wish generally don’t become happy ,but in The Whites case the family was warned yet they wished anyway causing their son to die. The characters however are both greedy, for Mr. Peters demanded three wishes from the swan after he saved it. Mr. White took the paw out of the fire after he was warned solely for the three wishes the paw granted. These characters both determine the stories direction for example; The Whites wished for 200 pounds though their son dies because of it. If they had never wished for the money the story may have been very much different. Mr. Peters determines the path the story takes when he rescues the swan. If Mr. Peters had never done that or wished for a wife then the story may have never taken place. The characters in these stories take on different character traits whether they are the same or different, but they also play major roles in the story.

Both of these stories tell entirely different messages to the reader, and the messages are presented in partially key moments in the story. In The Monkeys Paw the story’s lesson about life is that you cannot change what has already happened. This is shown when The Whites wish for 200 pounds though it was at the cost of their son’s death. Later in the story the couple wish for their son to live once more though Mr. White believes that their son will be a horrific memory and realizing what a terrible idea it was wished their son dead again. The lesson that the author is trying to send in The Third Wish is that a person should be mindful of another’s feelings and needs. This is shown when Mr. Peters wishes his wife back into a swan to be with her sister when Leita, his wife, felt alone without her. In the end Mr. Peters dies happy because of caring about someone else’s feelings rather than his own. These stories send different messages to the reader and are shown during the climax of the story.

The most significant quality both of these stories have is the idea or motif of three wishes. This similarity is one of the most important shared between the stories because without it neither story could ever occur or even be contrasted. This motif brings the stories together because the stories revolve around this idea of three wishes making the two stories similar. For example, in The Third Wish if there were no wishes then the wish for a wife or anything for that matter would never have occurred. The same type of idea occurs in The Monkeys Paw. If the monkeys paw was a normal paw then the story would be entirely different to the dark mood of the story. This quality in these stories in important to both the story and the connection that brings these two stories together.

These stories have qualities about them that define the way the story moves and are different and similar in many ways. But, through these differences these stories share the most important similarity which is the motif of three wishes. Without any of these differences or similarities the stories would take a much different turn and would be much less alike. These differences and similarities shape much of the elements that make these stories their own.

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