The Monkey’s Paw

the monkey's pawThis is our second Halloween month on xpressenglish.com, so today we are bringing you “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs. This is one of the most famous horror stories of all time. It was first published in 1902, and has since appeared in many different forms such as live plays, movies, TV shows, radio plays, books, s and cartoons (including a !). But first a word of advice. If you haven’t read “The Monkey’s Paw” before, don’t try to do it now if you are at home alone on a dark and stormy night !!!

English Learner Vocabulary Help

The words and expressions in our Simplified English story which are not in our Intermediate Level 1800 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , -major, , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .

There is also one -word in the story, “tut-tut”. This sound is used to show that you are sad about or do not of something. In the story, Mrs White uses it as Sergeant-Major Morris first enters the room. Outside he had been talking briefly to her husband about a recent death in his family. At the end of the story, we are left wondering whether this had anything to do with when the Sergeant-Major used the Monkey’s Paw.

General Comments on the Story

To introduce the story, the provides the following :

“Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it.” –

Jacobs makes excellent use of ing, and to create and build up to an exciting . He is also known for stories with a surprise ending and, as you may have guessed from the quotation, this one follows an often used of someone who, having been granted one or more wishes, experiences an unexpected (and in this case tragic) end result.


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comic(n: comic pl comics) A book made up of sequences of drawings telling a story. 4000

simpsons(n: The Simpsons) A very popular American cartoon series.

(n: episode pl episodes) A radio or television show that is part of a series. 5000

(adj: anonymous) Not named or identified; written, made or done by someone unknown. 3000

apron(n: apron pl aprons) A piece of cloth worn over the front of the body over clothes to keep them from getting dirty. 5000

(n: belief pl beliefs) Something believed or accepted as true without proof. 3000

cabinet(n: cabinet pl cabinets) A piece of furniture used for storing things that has doors and shelves and sometimes drawers. 2000

candle(n: candle pl candles) Wax that has been formed into a stick or another shape and has a string in the middle that can be burned to give light. 3000

cemetery(n: cemetery pl cemeteries) A piece of ground where the bodies of dead people are buried; a graveyard. 5000

chess(n: chess, noncount) A board game for two players in which each player moves 16 pieces across a board with sixty-four squares and tries to place the opponent's king in a position from which it cannot escape. 6000

chord(n: chord pl chords) In music, three or more notes played or sung at the same time. (คอร์ดดนตรี) 5000

(n: coincidence pl coincidences) A situation in which events happen at the same time in a way that is not planned or expected. 3000

courage(n: courage, noncount) The ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous; bravery. The soldier showed great courage in battle.
(adj: courageous) Having or showing courage. A courageous soldier. 3000

curious(adj: curious) 1. Interested and wanting to learn or know more about something or someone. I'm curious to find out whether he passed his exams. 2. Strange, unusual, or unexpected. She found a curious old clock in the attic. 3000

cushion(n: cushion pl cushions) A small pillow, used for support or to make a seat more comfortable. 3000

(n: disgust, noncount) 1. A strong feeling of dislike for something that is very unpleasant. He looked at the greasy food with disgust. 2. Annoyance and anger that you feel toward something because it is not good, fair, appropriate, etc. He talked about his disgust with the way the media bothers celebrities.
(v: disgust, disgusts, disgusted, disgusting) To cause or make someone feel disgust.
(adj: disgusting) Causing or making someone feel disgust. What a disgusting smell! 2000

echo(v: echo, echoes, echoed, echoing) To repeat a sound or a statement.
(n: echo pl echoes) A sound that is a copy of another sound and is produced when sound waves bounce off a surface (such as a wall). 3000

embarrass(v: embarrass, embarrasses, embarrassed, embarrassing) To make (a person, group, government, etc.) feel foolish, self-conscious or ashamed about something. 2000

fakir(n: fakir pl fakirs) A Hindu holy man who rejects material comforts and depends on people to give him food, etc. Especially one who performs feats of magic or endurance.

fascinated(v: fascinate, fascinates, fascinated, fascinating) To cause someone to be very interested in something or someone. His strange behavior fascinated the children. 3000

fate(n: fate pl fates) 1. The things that will happen to a person or thing; the future that someone or something will have. The boy disappeared, and his fate was unknown.
(n: fate, noncount) The power that is believed to control what happens in the future; destiny. They thought they would never see each other again, but fate brought them back together. 4000

forehead(n: forehead pl foreheads) The part of the face above the eyes and below the hairline; also called the 'brow'. 6000

(adj: frantic) 1. Feeling or showing a lot of fear and worry. The frantic mother searched for her missing child. 2. Having a lot of wild and hurried activity. The frantic pace of modern life. 5000

holy(adj: holy, holier, holiest) 1. To do with a god or a religion. 2. Religious and morally good; following the rules of religion. 2000

(adj: ill-gotten) Obtained in a dishonest or illegal way.

knit(v: knit, knits, knitted, knitting) To to make (a piece of clothing) from wool,etc. by using long needles or a special machine. 4000

nonsense(n: nonsense, noncount) Foolishness; words or ideas that are foolish or untrue. 3000

paw(n: paw pl paws) The foot of a land animal that has claws. 5000

relief(n: relief, noncount) 1. A pleasant and relaxed feeling that someone has when something unpleasant stops or does not happen. Much to everyone's relief, the airplane landed without any problems. 2. The removal or reducing of something that is painful or unpleasant. Exercise is an excellent source of stress relief. 2000

(n: sake pl sakes) The benefit or interest of someone or something. Used in phrases with 'for' to say that something is done to help a particular person or thing (e.g. We must do it for the sake of our country).
(interj) Used in phrases with 'for' to express anger, annoyance, surprise, etc. (e.g. For God's sake! For goodness sake! For Heaven's sake! ) 2000

sergeant(n: sergeant pl sergeants) In the army or police force, the highest position before becoming an officer. (สิบเอก)
(n: sergeant major pl sergeant majors or sergeants major) The highest rank of sergeant. (จ่าสิบเอก) 3000

(adj: sensible) Having or showing good reasoning or judgment. (มีเหตุผล) 2000

sigh(v: sigh, sighs, sighed, sighing) To take in and let out a long, loud breath in a way that shows you are bored, disappointed, unhappy, relieved, etc. (ถอนหายใจ) 4000

1. (v: spoil, spoils, spoiled or spoilt, spoiling) To damage or ruin; to make bad or useless; to reduce the quality or value of. (ทำให้เสีย) 2. To give (a child etc) too much of what he or she wants and possibly make his or her character, behavior etc worse by doing it. (ตามใจจนเสียคน) 3000

rotten fruit spoiled-child

stare(v: stare, stares, stared, staring) To look at someone or something directly for a long time without moving your eyes, often with eyes wide open. She was staring out the window. (จ้องมอง) 3000
To 'stare' can suggest looking at someone or something in a rude way because you think they are strange or shocking. Don't stare at people, it's not polite. A word with a similar meaning, 'gaze' suggests looking steadily at someone or something while being deep in thought. She gazed lovingly into his eyes.

stubborn(adj: stubborn) Refusing to change your ideas or to stop doing something; unwilling to listen to advice; inflexible. (ดื้อรั้น) 6000

testimonyswearing(v: swear, swears, swore, sworn, swearing) 1. To state (something) very strongly and sincerely. The boy swore that he was telling the truth. (สาบาน) 2. To use bad words or offensive language; curse. Don't swear in front of the children! (สาบแช่ง) 2000

sweat(n: sweat, noncount) The clear liquid given out through the skin when hot, scared or nervous. (เหงื่อ)
(v: sweats, sweated, sweating) To give out sweat through the skin. (ทำให้เหงื่อออก) 3000

tale(n: tale pl tales) 1. A story about real or imaginary events; an exciting or dramatic story that may not be completely true. (นิทาน) 2. An untrue story that is told to deceive someone; a lie. He told me he had a lot of money, but that was just a tale. (เรื่องโกหก) 3000

talisman(n: talisman pl talismans) An object which is supposed to have magic powers to protect or bring luck to its owner; a charm. (เครื่องราง) 14000

(adj: tender) Being very loving and gentle. (ที่แสดงถึงความรักใคร่) 3000

(n: tick pl ticks) 1. A small, quick, regular sound that is made by a machine, especially that of a watch, clock etc. (เสียงดังติ๊ก ๆ) 2. A mark (✓) used to show that something is correct, has been noted etc. (เครื่องหมายขีด) 2000

(adj: tragic) Causing strong feelings of sadness, often because someone has died or been badly hurt in a way that seems very shocking, unfair, etc. (อนาถ) 3000

twist(v: twist, twists, twisted, twisting) 1. To wrap or wind (something) around something. (บิด) 2. To turn in a circular motion. (บิดเป็นเกลียว)
(n: twist pl twists) A change in direction or unexpected outcome of a story etc. (เปลี่ยนเรื่อง) 3000

wicked(adj: wicked) 1. Morally bad; evil; sinful. A wicked witch. (ชั่วร้าย) 2. (informal) Having or showing slightly bad thoughts in a way that is funny or not serious. She wore a wicked smile after beating me at tennis. 3. (informal) Very bad or unpleasant. She had a wicked case of food poisoning. 4. (informal) Very good. He is a wicked dancer. 3000

(prefix: non) Not 1000

(v: approve, approves, approved, approving) To believe that something or someone is good or acceptable. 2000 The opposite of approve is disapprove.
(n: approval pl approvals) The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable; a good opinion of someone or something 2000

author(n: author pl authors) The person who has written something; someone who writes books or stories, especially a person who has written many books or stories. I enjoyed the book, but I can't remember the name of its author. 3000

(n: quotation pl quotations) Something that a person says or writes that is repeated or used by someone else in another piece of writing or a speech. 2000

(adj: anonymous) Not named or identified; written, made or done by someone unknown. 3000

(v: foreshadow, foreshadows, foreshadowed, foreshadowing) To give a suggestion of something that has not yet happened. 14000
A literary technique where an author puts something in a story about events that will come later in the plot.

(n: imagery, noncount) Language where mental images of a scene are created using descriptive words, especially making use of the human senses (sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch). Used to create a sense of the atmosphere, emotions or feelings of a situation. 2000

symbolism(n: symbolism, noncount) In literature, where a real object is used to stand for a thought, idea or feeling. The dove is the symbol of peace. (ด้วยสัญลักษณ์) 3000

atmosphere(n: atmosphere pl atmospheres) 1. The mass of air surrounding the earth. 2. The particular way a place or situation makes you feel. 3000

(n: climax pl climaxes) The most interesting and exciting part of something; the high point. The climax of a career/movie/play/tournament. 7000
In literature, the most important point in a story where the action reaches a turning point and interest and excitement reach their peak. It usually occurs at or near the end and influences the final outcome of the story.

(n: theme pl themes) In literature, a central idea that is communicated in a story. Note that a theme may be an idea that the writer wishes to convey, or another idea that a reader or group of readers interpret into the story. Most themes are implied through the plot rather than stated directly. (หัวข้อ) 4000

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