When "The Monkey's Paw" begins, how many have wished using the monkey's paw so far and what happened to them?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Sergeant Major Morris, the "vert holy man" who put the magic spell on the monkey's paw specified that "three separate men could each have three wishes from it." Two men have already had their three wishes, so there are only three wishes left, and these are all used in this story. Morris tells the Whites that he doesn't know what the first man's first two wishes were but that the third wish was for death. Morris does not say what his own three wishes were, but he has a dread of the mummified paw and suddenly throws it in the fire. When Mr. White (the father) retrieves it, the Sergeant Major warns him not to use it but to get rid of it.

mrsgiri | Student

Since the monkey's paw has not done any good to anyone so far and those who have used it have wished for greed, we would certainly not want to use the monkey's paw for now though a few might want to...

mrcstj55 | Student


Your question is a bit confusing but so can the idea of wishes associated with the Monkey's Paw. The wishes alluded to by the Colonel were attributed to a man whose last wish was for death. The Colonel doesn't provide much information about his use of the wishes but he certainly has a negative attitude about, as evidenced by his pitching it on the fire. Mr. White makes the remaining wishes and as close as we can guess two of his guesses are also for death, although not directly. The first wish seems to result in the death of his son and the last wish, although unspoken, seems to end the return to life of his now mangled son.

You might wish for a better answer than that but we need to respect the author's wishes also. It is left open to the reader to fill in what those wishes are. All we have is a strong plot and that provides the framework for us to speculate what could be, coincidence or fate.