In the story "The Monkey's Paw" what is an example of indirect characterization?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The best examples of indirect characterization in “The Monkey’s Paw” are to be found in the dialogue and behavior of Herbert. He is always joking and displaying high spirits. The author obviously intended to show that he was the light of his parents’ lives, so that his death would plunge them into hopeless gloom. His mother is especially fond of him. She laughs at his jokes. She follows him to the front door and watches him as he walks off down the road, although he has been dong the same thing for many years.  

The following is a good example of indirect characterization of Herbert:

"Why, we’re going to be rich, and famous, and happy. Wish to be an emperor, father, to begin with; then you can’t be henpecked.”

He darted round the table, pursued by the maligned Mrs. White armed with an antimacassar.

The author emphasizes Herbert’s youthful optimism and good humor right up until the point that he leaves for work. His mother characterizes him indirectly in the following dialogue:

“Herbert will have some more of his funny remarks, I expect, when he comes home,’ she said, as they sat at dinner.

Her thoughts are still with her son while he is away, and she is looking forward to his return. His loss is especially painful to her. That is why she insists on having her husband use his second wish to bring Herbert back to life.

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