The Monkey’s Paw and The Yellow Wallpaper Comparison Paper

English 101

In this activity, you will be writing a 1500-word essay to compare the stories The Monkey’s Paw and the Yellow Wallpaper. You will be comparing them based on the 8 lenses of writing. These lenses are plot, character, setting, conflict, genre, theme, audience, and literary devices. This should be a 4-paragraph essay with a strong […]

The Monkey’s Paw and The Yellow Wallpaper Essay

Literary elements are the concepts that all literature, including poems, books, articles, and stories, use to gain the minds and hearts of the audience. Thus, they are the central building blocks of inscription; as such, they play a crucial role in assisting people in understanding, reading, and writing literature (Martín, 2017). The stories “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs are examples of two pieces where the authors have used literary devices to convey their messages simply to the readers. In the mentioned narratives, the authors have properly employed the different lenses of writing, including the audience, themes, genre, conflict, setting, character, plot, and literary devices to help readers interpret and analyze the work.


“The Monkey’s Paw” by Jacobs was not intended for children but for a more mature audience due to its version of a classic horror tale. As an illustration, the mood is kind of freaky and scary. The entire narrative is filled with misfortune, and the dread of cold makes it scary for children. For instance, the fact that their son is reborn as a zombie is quite freaky (Jacobs, 2016). The tone is also malicious and dark due to the mood. The context of the narrative is centered on fear-filled thoughts from the character and is filled with hurtful words.

On the contrary, for “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Gilman, the original audience was women who had suffered postpartum depression as she did. Due to this condition, she always cries at nothing (Gilman, 2015). Nonetheless, in the present day, her audience is greater than she could have foreseen. Her story offers intuition not only to women who experience postpartum depression but also to doctors, husbands, and the community.


In “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the authors have used themes to demonstrate the central focus of the narrative. This literary element expresses the projected point, message, conclusion, and lesson. In “The Monkey’s Paw,” the themes include the dangers of wish fulfillment, which reminds readers to be careful what they wish for and that interfering with fate, mainly due to greed, results in tragedy. There is also the theme of greed, which leads to the downfall and disappointment of the Whites and tragic consequences, such as the death of Herbert (Jacobs, 2016). The most important force is superstition due to how it affects the readers. Correspondingly, in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the themes entail confinement and freedom; the narrator is restricted to a single room in a large house. There is also the theme of gender, where the reason for her confinement is her femininity.


In “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the authors have utilized the patterns of the genre accepted by readers to attain their objectives, enabling them to develop a working relationship with readers. For example, “The Monkey’s Paw” is a model of the horror genre. The author wove numerous recognizable and common elements of the genre in the narrative: the story opens on a stormy and dark night, the silence is interrupted by the ticking of the clock, stairs squeak, doors bang unexpectedly, and the Whites reside on a deserted street (Jacobs, 2016). The mentioned elements increase the tension and notify the readers that, at any moment, something dreadful could transpire. In contrast, in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the genre includes feminist fiction and a captivity narrative. The genre is centered on critiquing healthcare institutions and the common practice of failing to take women’s illnesses seriously or consult the patients in their treatment.


Conflict is another literary element evident in “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Yellow Wallpaper.” It entails a struggle between two opposing forces, mainly an antagonist and a protagonist. A careful analysis of the two narratives shows that there may be either internal or external conflict. Both external and internal conflicts are evident in “The Monkey’s Paw.” Concerning the former, Herbert and Mrs. White argued with Sergeant Major Morris because, despite bringing the monkey’s paw to their house, he did not want Mrs. White to possess it (Jacobs, 2016). Regarding the latter, the whites differed on whether to use the paw and how much. Comparatively, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is centered on an internal conflict between the narrator and her husband. The man uses his authority as a physician to control her; he compels her to behave how he perceives an ailing woman should (Gilman, 2015). The man was unaware of how the wife felt; he just compelled her to do what he thought was right and expected her to go along with it.


In the stories, the setting is where the events in “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” occur. It is a vital literary element because it helps to create a mood and provides the backdrop to the story. The characters in “The Monkey’s Paw” regularly visit their homes. The setting of the narrative is somewhere in England. Arguably, this is evident because they use the British pound rather than the American dollar. The first wish of the family was to have two hundred pounds (Jacobs, 2016). Correspondingly, “The Yellow Wallpaper” occurs in a small room covered with yellow wallpaper. It is a setting that gives the backdrop to the narrative. The room in question is a jail to the narrator and signifies the control her husband exerts over her.


“The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” have used characters to move the story along a plotline, speak dialogue, and perform an action. In “The Monkey’s Paw,” the characters are as follows: Sergeant-Major Morris, Herbert White, Mrs. White, and Mr. White (Jacobs, 2016). Similarly, “The Yellow Wallpaper” has only four characters: the husband, the narrator, and their servants (Gilman, 2015). The short length of the account impedes the expansion that can ensue in longer works and intricate character backgrounds. In both narratives, the characters are vital literary elements since they drive as a whole. The different kinds of stated characters involved in the stories form the different types of tensions and conflicts as well as the different forms of resolutions.


The plot element is vital in describing the events that form the story. The events are linked to each other in a sequence or a pattern. It is an important literary element because it focuses on the important characters and their roles in the narrative. The plot in “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” establishes how events are related or patterned based on conflict and resolution. For instance, the initial situation in “The Monkey’s Paw” is of a mysterious visitor, an isolated cottage, and a happy family. Based on the conflict, the family disagrees on whether to wish or not to wish (Jacobs, 2016). The complication is that after making the wish, they now wondered if it would be true. The climax is when Herbert dies in a fatal accident. The suspense is whether he will come back to life, even if that wish is a good idea. Mr. White makes his third and final wish in the denouncement. The conclusion is that the family walks outside when the knocking stops.

In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the initial situation is that the narrator is not comfortable on the estate they rented for the summer with her husband. The conflict is that her husband instructs her to rest while she feels she should socialize and spend time writing. The complication is that she becomes preoccupied with the wallpaper and conceives that a woman is imprisoned within it. In the climax, she strips off all the wallpaper (Gilman, 2015). The suspense is when her husband attempts to find out what the narrator is doing. The denouncement is where he faints. In conclusion, the narrator is convinced that she eventually attained liberation and continues to strip off the wallpaper.

Literary Devices

Authors use literary devices to ensure the readers stay captivated by various aspects. Various literary devices are evident in “The Monkey’s Paw,” including simile and symbolism. The simile, as used in work, is a figure of speech that compares two objects. For instance, as Mrs. White rose and started to prepare supper, she said, “Sounds like the Arabian Night” (Jacobs, 2016). The second is symbolism, which uses symbols to represent qualities or ideas. The monkey’s paw is symbolic since it signifies trouble and misfortune.

Comparatively, the author of “The Yellow Wallpaper” utilizes various literary devices to discuss the story’s theme. The notable ones are narration and symbolism. Based on narration, the writer has created a narrator who makes a very powerful statement concerning her situation as a woman who is oppressed. For instance, she states, ” I never used to be so sensitive; I believe it is as a result of this nervous condition” (Gilman, 2015). The author further uses symbolism to enhance and reveal her message. For example, since the narrator feels trapped by her surroundings and her husband, one can likely argue that the woman she sees behind the wallpaper is a symbol of herself and other oppressed women like her.


Based on the analysis of “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” it is evident that writers frequently employ literary elements to give a logical framework and meaning to their work through language. When readers go through such works, they, in the long run, recognize and appreciate them. Due to the universality of literary elements, they enable readers to compare a work of one author to that of another, such as in the case of “The Monkey’s Paw” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” to determine its worth. Moreover, not only do they beautify a piece of literature, but they offer profound meaning to it. Last but not least, they motivate the reader’s imagination to visualize scenes and characters more clearly.


Gilman, C. P. (2015). The Yellow Wallpaper. Irvine, CA: Xist Publishing.

Jacobs, W. W. (2016). The Monkey’s Paw. Youcanprint.

Martín, J. A. H. (2017). Writing short stories to describe literary language use and perceptions as a writer. Enletawa Journal10(2), 13-28.

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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