The Monkey's Paw Characters


See Mr. White

See Sergeant-Major Morris

Sergeant-Major Morris
Sergeant-Major Morris is the catalyst for the story: he brings the monkey's paw to the Whites' home. He is "a tall, burly man, beady of eye and rubicund of visage," whose eyes get brighter after his third glass of whiskey at the Whites' hearth. Morris is both familiar and exotic. Morris and Mr. White began their lives in approximately the same way; Mr. White remembers his friend as ''a slip of a youth in the warehouse," But in his twenty-one years of travel and soldiering, Morris has seen the world and has brought back tales of "wild scenes and doughty deeds; of wars and plagues and strange peoples." Morris also carries with him the monkey's paw, which changes all the Whites' lives forever.

See Mrs. White

The Other
See The Stranger

The Stranger
The last character to appear in ''The Monkey's Paw'' has no name. He is the messenger of death— the company representative sent to tell Herbert's parents about the death of their son in a terrible accident at work. On one level, Jacobs paints a realistic portrait of this man; Mrs. White notes that he is well dressed, and that he seems very nervous, hesitating at their gate, and picking lint from his clothes before he delivers his horrible news. However, on another level, the writer keeps this character anonymous: the man never gives his name, and his face is not described except as "perverted." In this way, the character works as a symbol of death or fate.

The Visitor
See The Stranger

Herbert White
Herbert White lives with his elderly parents and gets along with them quite well. He works at a local company called Maw and Meggins. Like his father, he is good-natured and reliable.

Despite this steadiness of character, Herbert is also a little bit silly. He is the first to ask Morris whether the old soldier used three wishes himself, and Morris looks at him ''in the way that middle age is wont to regard presumptuous youth." He teases his parents about wishing on the monkey's paw, goading his mother into chasing him around the table, and his father into making the first wish. He remains skeptical and flippant about the paw's powers: '"Well, I don't see the money," said his son as he picked [the paw] up and placed it on the table, 'and I bet I never shall.'" A bit later in the story, Herbert jokes, "I expect you'll find the cash tied up in a big bag in the middle of your bed."

Like his father's failings, Herbert White's irreverence is perfectly understandable. This quality even...

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