Inventive Re-Enactments of a Classic Short Story

Mr. Denton’s Sophomore English Classes performed contemporary re-enactments of the short story, “The Monkey’s Paw,” by W.W. Jacobs.  Students donned props to act out their groups version of the infamous scary story.

“The Monkey’s Paw,” is the story of the White family and what happens to them when they get a mystical, magical monkey’s paw that has the power to grant three wishes. Spoiler alert: the wishes never work out the way you want them too. One re-enactment had a student that wanted to attend college but his mother would not let him go due to funding issues.  The boy wished for money to go to college and was informed the next day that his mother had died and he was the sole benefactor of $200,000. This amount was plenty of money to go to college and brings new meaning to the phrase “Be careful what you wish for.”  Each group did an inventive job of twisting fate for the characters in their perspective plays.

W.W. Jacobs managed to make a good living writing novels and short stories, but he’s most famous for this one, written in 1902 and first published in Harper’s Magazine.  That same year it was also published in a collection of Jacobs’s short stories called Our Lady of the Barge.  Over the next century it would find its way into dozens of anthologies and be required reading for thousands of school students.  In addition, it was also adapted by another master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, for an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1965.  One hundred and sixteen years later and this short story is still aiding students in their literature knowledge and journey.