Paired Texts > The Monkey's Paw
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
In Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt," Mr. and Mrs. Hadley become concerned when they realize how dependent their children are on the technology in their futuristic home.Pair with “The Veldt” with “The Monkey’s Paw” and ask students to discuss the temptations faced by the main characters in each story. How are characters in each story tempted by something that could be considered “unnatural”? What would the author of each text have to say about what motivates humans to give in to these temptations? What would they say about how human beings should interact with either technology or the supernatural?
In "The Third Wish," Joan Aiken tells the story of a man who asks for three wishes after rescuing the King of the Forest.Pair “The Third Wish” with “The Monkey’s Paw” and ask students to think about how the characters in each story use the wishes they are granted. How does each character respond to wishes that don’t turn out the way they’d hoped, and what do their responses reveal about them? What does each text have to say about wishing for things?
In Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery," an entire town participates in a ritual that turns surprisingly sinister.Pair “The Lottery” with “The Monkey’s Paw” and ask students to compare how each text uses an unexpected plot twist to develop the message of the story. How do the authors of these texts create dramatic surprise or a reversal of fortune? How do these twists help the reader make judgments about the characters in the stories?
"The Keys of Destiny" is the 1001 story from the classic collection One Thousand and One Nights. In this story, a woman tells a king a story about how a man came to be imprisoned due to the greed of others.Pair “The Monkey’s Paw” with “The Keys of Destiny” and ask students to compare how both stories explore themes of fate. How do powerful objects in the two texts control the characters’ fates? How do the narrative structures of the two texts help convey the themes of the two stories?
In this short story, written by the award-winning author Neil Gaiman, a young boy asks his sister's boyfriend to tell him a story.Pair “The Monkey’s Paw” with “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” and ask students to compare how both author’s build suspense throughout the text. How do both authors use unseen forces to help build suspense? How are the endings to both stories different but yet similar? How do the endings help cement the suspense in the stories? In your opinion, which author builds suspense more effectively?
In "How to Make Your Writing Suspenseful," Victoria Smith provides advice to aspiring writers.Pair “The Monkey’s Paw” with “How to Make Your Writing Suspenseful” and have students think about how Jacobs builds suspense. How does the soldier’s explanation of the power of the monkey paw build suspense in “The Monkey’s Paw”? What specific techniques from “How to Make Your Writing Suspenseful” can you identify in the horror story? How do these elements build suspense?