Summary Of Rule Of Three By W.W. Jacobs

705 words - 3 pages

“Rule of Three” is a short story by the author W. W. Jacobs. The story contains a lengthy exposition that gradually introduces the setting and the main protagonist and the main antagonist. The setting is the White’s family home, in a small English town on a dark, story night to set the mood for the story’s suspense. By the end of Act 1, the exposition is over. When the exposition ends, the inciting incident begins.

The inciting incident in “Rule of Three” occurs right after Sergeant Major Morris’ visit to the Whites. Even though Sergeant Major Morris had warned and attempted to destroy the limb in the fireplace, the Whites were too stubborn to listen to the man. Instead, they took the paw and out of complete idiocy, wishes for 200 pounds. Something of material gain, which they did not realize would cost them as Sergeant Major Morris had warned.

The climax of “Rule of Three” is when Mrs. White demands that Mr. White uses his second ...view middle of the document...

By the end of the story, Mr. White develops into a much stronger character because he decides to use his last and final wish in defiance to his wife. Even though Mrs. White is weak, and yearns for her son back, Mr. White realizes that in whatever state their son is in, he would never be the same. As painful as it would be to lose a son, Mr. White realizes that he would rather bring his wife out of despair than live with a mutilated son.

The main antagonist in the story is the monkey’s paw and the Fakir. The old Indian Fakir decided to curse the monkey’s paw as a symbol to show people that those who tempt fate, must deal with the consequences with their own lives. As Sergeant Major Morris had stated, the paw grants three wishes to three different men. Do not wish for foolishness as the wishes will appear as consequences. The Fakir is the main antagonist because he created the monkey’s paw. Even though that is the so-proclaimed purpose, there is no other reason for the Fakir to create chaos in other peoples lives. Even though it is a sensible lesson, it has a price to pay.

The main conflict in the “Rule of Three” is person vs. supernatural. The Whites decide to wish for something of material gain, even though they have been warned that those who try to mess with fate, receive catastrophic results. The monkey’s paw is clearly an object that is supernatural, otherwise the wishes coming true are just purely coincidence or otherwise unexplainable. This conflict explains the truth about life just as how even with today’s modern technology and information, there are things that we cannot comprehend nor even begin to understand. Doing so, would be venturing into the unknown.

I give “Rule of Three” 4 out of 5 mutilated people. I give it this rating because I enjoyed the plot and the mysterious paw. I thought that the whole concept of the Fakir and cursing the paw was enjoyable, and also believable. I also thought that the wishes coming true in the form of consequences was unique because most stories create wishes in a poof. I didn’t give it the extra star because I don’t appreciate horror. I don’t like being scared and this short story really made me get goose bumps.

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