What is the difference in the atmosphere in the White's home beore and after the monkey's paw is produced in "The Monkey's Paw"?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Before the Monkey’s Paw arrives, the White home is peaceful and idyllic.  After the Paw, there is a darkness and tragedy hits, as the son is killed.

At the beginning of the story, the White family lives in a bubble of protection.

WITHOUT, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly.

While it is stormy outside, they are peaceful within.  Mr. White’s biggest concern is losing at the chess game.  Even though he complains about not having neighbors, so we know they are isolated, Mr. White really just wants to distract himself and his son from the game.

After the paw enters their lives, the family begins to see things in a more sinister light.  As the wish comes true and they get money, but lose their son, the idyllic and peaceful home becomes mororse.

But the days passed, and expectation gave place to resignation--the hopeless resignation of the old, sometimes miscalled, apathy. Sometimes they hardly exchanged a word, for now they had nothing to talk about, and their days were long to weariness.

The Whites no longer live an insulated life.  Trouble has come, in the form of the paw.  It continues as Mrs. White wishes for her son to return, and they dread what might actually happen and Mr. White is able to unwish it.

Read the study guide:
The Monkey's Paw

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