Is Morris an untrustworthy person in W. W. Jacobs' "The Monkey's Paw"? 

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You could make a case that W. W. Jacobs characterizes Sergeant-Major Morris as an untrustworthy person in the short story "The Monkey's Paw."

Jacobs' description of Morris's physical looks serves as one clue that Morris might not be the most trustworthy person. Specifically, he is described as being "beady of eye," which means he has small eyes that seem to "gleam with malice, avarice, or lechery" (Random House Dictionary). Beady eyes is often a description authors reserve for characters who might be worthy of suspicion.

In addition, Morris has clearly come to realize that what the monkey's paw can do is evil, yet he still brings it with him to the home of Mr. White. At first, when asked about the paw, Morris says it's not worth talking about but continues to talk about it regardless and even pulls it out of his pocket to show his hosts. Morris throws the paw in the fire and says, as he watches Mr. White retrieve it, "If you keep it, don't blame me for what happens." If he truly believed the paw should be destroyed, perhaps he would have destroyed it in private to ensure his actions were not interfered with.

Read the study guide:
The Monkey's Paw

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