Three things about the sergeant-major which make the reader more likely to believe (or at least accept) his story about the curse."The Monkey's Paw" by W.W . Jacobs

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In W.W. Jacobs's horrifying tale, "The Monkey's Paw," the reader is presented with a man who has been in foreign lands, a man who speaks of "wild scenes and doughty deeds," a man who knows wars and plagues and strange peoples.  Reasons for the reader to grant him credibility regarding the curse of the monkey's paw are the facts that

  • this sergeant-major seems worldly and wise, indeed, and has seen the fakirs and been in the old temples of India
  • he is a military man, and, therefore, seems trustworthy
  • he is a personal friend of Mr. White, having worked in the warehouse where Mr. White has worked.
  • he is reluctant to talk of the monkey's paw to his old friend.  Then, when asked if he had his three wishes granted, the sergeant-major blanches and replies, "I did."
  • when asked if he could have another three wishes, the sergeant-major then throws the monkey's paw into the fire, and he tells Mr. White, who retrieves it, "Better let it burn."
  • The sergeant-major warns the Whites of the consequences of using the monkey's paw.