How does each member of the White family react when first hearing the legend of the monkey's paw?

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Sara George eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All three family members initially demonstrate curiosity about this magical talisman from a distant land. Mr. White has to talk Morris into telling the story behind the paw, and "his three listeners leaned forward eagerly." When Morris pulls the paw out of his pocket, Mrs. White instinctively "drew back with a grimace," but her husband and son inspected it curiously. After hearing about the curse, both Mr. and Mrs. White ply Morris with questions aimed at revealing whether there were still any wishes left. 

When Mr. White rescues the paw from the fire, Morris gives him an ominous warning: "I warn you of the consequences."

As the group sits down to dinner, the mood lightens a bit, and when Mr. White starts to wish an extra pair of hands for his wife, "all three burst into laughter."

All three members of the White family are setting themselves up for the same fate as the cat curiosity killed. Mrs. White should have heeded her initial gut reaction when she first laid eyes on the paw, but curiosity prods her and her family to ignore their guest's warning. 

Read the study guide:
The Monkey's Paw

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