Themes and Symbols in "The Monkey's Paw"

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Monkey's Paw


Themes, Symbols, and Motifs in The Monkey's Paw

Example



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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the story, and support their choices with details from the text.


The Consequences of Interfering with Fate

Despite Morris’ objections and warnings, Mr. White is determined to try to change something about his life, rather than being satisfied with all that he already has. According to Morris, the old fakir who bewitched the paw, “wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow.” The twisted irony of the paw is that it does, in fact, grant the wish; however, because magic interferes with the way things are supposed to be, the wishes are granted at a serious price.


The Danger of Taking Curiosity Too Far

Mr. White isn’t exactly greedy in his wish for £200; it’s more something he would like to have, and it’s a wish that seems sensible. It’s more of a test to satisfy his own curiosity than anything else. However, this curiosity leads to deadly consequences for Herbert, and absolute sorrow for Mr. and Mrs. White. Sometimes, questions are best left to be wondered about, rather than pursued.



The Monkey’s Paw

The monkey's paw is an opportunity for the Whites to seize any possibility in the universe, and to satisfy their curiosity. However, it is also a way to interfere with fate, and because of this, they are severely punished. Fate is something that cannot be changed, and when the Whites attempt to change it with the paw, fate finds a way to set things right.


The Cold Wind

The cold wind is a constant throughout the story. It his howling as the Whites await Morris, who is the harbinger of the paw and their subsequent bad luck. It howls as the next visitor arrives, delivering news of Herbert’s death. Finally, the cold wind surrounds the house as the Herbert’s corpse reanimates and attempts to get into the house. The wind is a foreshadowing of bad luck, and a warning to the Whites as they interfere with fate.




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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in “The Monkey’s Paw”. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from “The Monkey’s Paw” you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for examples that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.

Template: Theme

Template


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Rubric

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