Compative Essay on The Monkeys Paw and Forever, Alice

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1129 words
Boston College
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The short story, The Monkeys Paw is a story by the British author William Wymark Jacobs published in 1902. The story is a horror story that revolves around a monkeys paw that has the ability to grant three wishes however due to the fact that the paw is cursed, the wishes granted have a high price to pay and end up having very severe consequences. Forever, on the other hand, is a drama film about an investigative journalist that takes on the task of investigating a rural retreat which is actually a cult that has tormented people. Her decision to investigate the cult is influenced her need to escape and seek solace after her boyfriend commits suicide. The story follows her life at the retreat and her love life. Both of these literary works have some similarities in the characters and the themes presented.

In both the short story, The Monkeys Paw and the film, Forever, characters in both are influenced by bad decisions due to their emotional state at which they were in at the moment. In the case of The Monkeys Paw, after the death of the son as a result of the first wishes granted by the monkeys paw, the Whites are devastated and as a result. Mrs. White results to utilizing the cursed monkey's paw as a means to bring back her son. Mrs. White in this endeavor realizes that she can use it to bring back her son to life thus forces her husband to make a second wish, that is, to wish for their son to be alive again. However, the wish, as anticipated by Mr. White is not as expected as their son returns as a disfigured creature that had decomposed for ten days, which forces the husband to make to utilize the paw one last time to make the final wish of wishing his son dead again.

On the other hand, in the film, Forever, Alice, an investigative reporter traumatized by the death of her boyfriend makes a bad decision due to her vulnerable emotional state that leads her to a retreat that is in actuality a cult filled with tormented people who are planning to kill themselves in a mass suicide. After the suicide of her boyfriend, Alices life is shattered as she is left to deal with her personal tragedy. As a result, she goes to a rural retreat that is referred to as the clinic, which later turns out to be a cult that is full of terribly demented people. In the cult, Alice also falls in love while she was in the process of investigating the full extent of the cult and its leader.

Furthermore, in the both the short story and the film, the characters are seen to behave contrary to the suggestions of people that are offering them advice not to make decisions that may have negative consequences in the future. In the case of the short story, the initial owner of the monkey's paw at the time was Sergeant-Major Morris. Morris is constantly telling stories in his troubled state about the disturbing nature of the wishes granted by the paw. He offers warnings about the use of the paw even going to the extent of stating how the previous owner wished for death as his final wish.

However, despite such warnings from the sergeant major, Mr. White still retrieves the paw from the fire and keeps it for himself. On the other hand, in the film, we see the main character, Alice making the decision to go the retreat despite the fact that a stranger advises her not to go there by telling her that she does not want to be there. The severity of this warning only comes to light when Alice finally realizes that all the people in the retreat have all went through a traumatic event in their lives and they intend to commit mass suicide together.

However, on the other hand, the two pieces of art have differences that present themselves. In the case of the monkeys paw, the short story goes into the aspect of greediness as a part of human nature. Through the use of the monkeys paw, the author shows that once people have the power to wish for anything they want, they do not necessarily care about the consequences that may befall them. This is evident from the fact that the characters in the short story still make use of the cursed talisman in spite of the constant warnings against using it.

Furthermore, the story shows that people have the need of acquiring things that they do not necessarily need. For instance, the misfortunes that befell the Whites are as result of them wishing for money that did not need. The Whites were a well to do family that lived in a comfortable home and were a happy family, thus resulting to wishing for money that came with a very high price was not the best decision. This initial greed leads to the death of the Whites son, which led to the emotional second wish to bring him back from the dead and ultimately led to the third wish of later wishing him dead meant to counteract the gruesome effects of the second wish.

On the contrary, while The Monkeys Paw focusses on the negative aspect of humanity, the film, Forever, leans more on the love and compassion of humanity. The actions of the Alice are guided by the need to seek for solace after the death of her boyfriend. This decision leads her to a retreat where she finds acceptance from a group of people who have similar traumatic experiences thus they understand her pain better. Although she seeks such acceptance under false pretenses, she does eventually learn to love again which is evident from her new relationship with Charlie at the retreat. In the final scenes of the film, love ultimately prevails when her new boyfriend, Charlie saves her by preventing her from drinking from the poisoned cup in spite of the fact that previously, Charlie had refused to escape with Alice so as to avoid participating in the mass suicide.

Overall, the two literary works offers an insight into the human nature. In regards to the short story, the author tries to show that our lives are subject to fate and trying to manipulate fate can only lead to dire consequences. Furthermore, the story tries to show the shortcomings of humanity in that humans are innately greedy in spite of the adverse effects of such greediness. On the other hand, the film tries to look into the positive aspects of humanity exploring the power of love and compassion and the needs to seeks the right people to assist in coping with traumatic events.


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