How does the monkey's paw influence the characters of Mr. and Mrs. White in "The Monkey's Paw"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As Morris warns the Whites in the beginning of the story, use of the Monkey's Paw brings with it tragedy. These warnings certainly are fulfilled, as that initial wish destroys their family.

As this story opens, the Whites seem to be a happy and functional family unit. But when Mr. White makes the first wish for the two hundred pounds, that happiness will be shattered. Later the next day, they will receive the two hundred pounds they had wished for as compensation for the death of their son, who had been killed at work.

This news has a deleterious effect on the two parents. Both are grieving, but in her grief, Mrs. White fixates on the Monkey's Paw in the hopes that it will bring her son back. Thus, she demands that they use it again—this time to revive the son they had lost.

There is a desperation and intensity at this point of the story as the wife pressures her husband into acceding to her wishes. Later, when they hear knocking at the door, it seems as if the wish has been fulfilled.


(The entire section contains 3 answers and 800 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 19, 2019
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team