How does the reaction of the mother and father change about the monkey's paw ?    

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cneukam1379 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would also say that when the family first hears the story of the monkey's paw, their curiosity is really about hearing a tale of magic and intrigue, almost like one who sits around a campfire and awaits a scary story, just for the thrill of it. After all, Mr. White complains early in the story about living so far out in the country that no one really stops by, especially on a night such as Jacobs describes, with its wind and rain. Truly, Jacobs sets the scene to be a scary story with the dismal opening.

When the Whites first see the monkey's paw, Mrs. White "drew back with a grimace, but her son, taking it, examined it curiously." Mr. White also takes the paw and examines it, though no descriptors are given about his reaction.

Once the family is in possession of the "talisman," they still treat the monkey's paw as if it is a joke, but when Mr. White makes his first wish, "a fine crash from the piano greeted his words, interrupted by a shuddering cry" from Mr. White, which frightens Mrs. White and Herbert. Mr. White claims that the paw moved when he wished, which causes the family to doubt their initial mirth at the story the soldier told. In the morning, however, they return to their disbelief.

By the end, when the wish of 200 pounds is granted in lieu of Herbert's death, and then the second wish seems to bring Herbert back to life, Mr. and Mrs. White both believe in the power of the paw, so much so that Mr. White uses his last wish to wish that Herbert returns to the dead.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During the course of the W. W. Jacobs short story, Mr. and Mrs. White's view of the paw undergoes several changes. When the old soldier first reveals the paw, they are curious. Their fascination grows as his story about the paw's origins continues. When their son, Herbert, retrieves it from the fireplace, they show skepticism and some trepidation, but their desire for its possible riches allow them to keep it in their possession. After Herbert's death, their horror at the paw's possibilities grows. After the second awful wish seems to have also come true, they are no doubt resolute to the paw's capabilities. The final wish becomes a wise one, eliminating the horrors that it has created and returning them to their previous life--albeit without their beloved son.