Elizabeth Kübler-Ross developed a model of the five stages of grief: isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Her concept allows people to better handle, react, and understand this process. Although studies now reject her theory as being exact and flawless, the basic outIine of it still provides a foundation of the psychology behind the emotion (Hall). The model may easily be applied to literature since grief is such a common feeling. "The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs illustrates the bereavement the Whites endure after their son's untimely death. In the story, parts of Kübler-Ross's theory of grief are exhibited from Herbert's demise until the final wish is granted.
Depression is the first symptom of melancholia displayed by the old couple. Kübler-Ross explains depression as the fourth element of the model: when one, ".cannot smile it off anymore.numbness and stoicism will soon be replaced with a sense of great loss" (97). Jacobs explains, "But the days passed, and expectation gave place to resignation.Sometimes they hardly exchanged a word, for now they had nothing to talk about, and their days were long to weariness," after Herbert's tragic passing (39). Financial burdens can often arise along with the depression of the stage as well (Kübler-Ross 97). This is the indirect drawback of his death. The only income that flows into their household is Herbert's, so the two hundred pound compensation they received will only last them that month's mortgage. The old couple would have to take up jobs and labor in order to survive. This depression is the step which first creates the connection of grief with the reader that will last throughout the story. The foundation of human grief entails this sadness and emptiness which is why it forms the bond with the reader so well. Jacobs' use of this phase of grief exemplifies Ross's model perfectly.
Bargaining is the next and most prevalent step shown in the story.