How do I write a character sketch of Mr. White from "The Monkey's Paw"?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A character sketch is a detailed description of a character, much like a sketch you would draw with a pencil.

Mr. White is a risk taker.  When playing chess with his son, he makes unusual moves “putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils” because he likes to make “radical changes.”  He even tries to distract his son by asking him to listen to the wind.  He is also not a good loser, as he begins complaining about the location of his house when he loses a game.

Although he enjoys spending time with his son, Mr. White does not like living in such isolation.  Most of the houses around them are empty.

[Of] all the beastly, slushy, out-of-the-way places to live in, this is the worst Pathway's a bog, and the road's a torrent. I don't know what people are thinking about. I suppose because only two houses on the road are let, they think it doesn't matter."

Mr. White enjoys having company.  He sympathizes with the visitor.  He gets him talking and telling stories of far-away places, which interest Mr. White.  When the monkey’s paw is brought out, Mr. White wants to keep it even though the soldier tells him it is a bad idea.  The trinket, and the idea of three wishes, intrigues Mr. White.  However, he can’t think of anything he needs to wish for.

Mr. White took the paw from his pocket and eyed it dubiously. "I don't know what to wish for, and that's a fact," he said slowly. "It seems to me I've got all I want."

Mr. White is happy, despite his earlier protests about the house being lonely.  He does not want much.  He just wants to live with his family in a quiet life.

Mr. White realizes that the monkey’s paw is dangerous when his wife uses it to wish their son back to life.  Mr. White quickly grabs the monkey’s paw and wishes him to go back to being dead, because he is worried about what might happen if he comes to the door.  He will be a mangled, miserable mess.  Mr. White does not want his wife to have to face that.

Mr. White is a loving father and husband, but he also realizes that sometimes fantasy is worse than reality.


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