In "The Monkey's Paw," how does Herbert behave in the last two paragraphs?
This question is about the end of the story when the parents wish for Herbert to be alive again.
3 Answers | Add Yours
In those paragraphs, Herbert is very emotional. In the next to the last paragraph, I'd say he is frantic. We're told "… her husband was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw." That's upset: crawling around on your hands and knees.
In the last paragraph, we're told he shows "courage," but I'd say there is more there. The moment passes, and he is partially collapsed, as you might be after getting off a roller coaster. He's been really excited; now he is really exhausted. As far as his actions, he's active, then passive.
We are to infer, of course, that it is Herbert, out of his grave, who stands on the other side of the closed and bolted door. Since he is "wished away" by Mr. White's final wish on the monkey's paw, we never actually see him. When the door is flung open, no one stands on the porch and the road is "quiet and deserted."
However, before Mrs. White can open the door, we hear Herbert, even though we can't see him. What had begun as a few knocks, became "[a] perfect fusillade of knocks that reverberated through the house." The implication is that Herbert is pounding on the door, intent upon coming inside. When Mr. White finally finds the monkey's paw and makes his final wish, the knocking stops: "The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house." Herbert has been sent back to his grave.
Herbert is not in the last two paragraphs:
But her husband was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If he could only find it before the thing outside got in. A perfect fusillade of knocks reverberated through the house, and he heard the scraping of a chair as his wife put it down in the passage against the door. He heard the creaking of the bolt as it came slowly back, and at the same moment he found the monkey's paw, and frantically breathed his third and last wish.
The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair drawn back and the door opened. A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The street lamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes