As seen in "The Mokey's Paw," are the Whites responsible for their fate?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The fate of the White family, as seen in W. W. Jacob's short story "The Monkey's Paw," is wholly deserved. Even after being warned, by Sergeant-Major, about the horrible outcomes of wishes made on the paw, the White family still makes a wish.

Their first wish comes true; they receive the 200 pounds they asked for.  This money did not come without a cost though--Herbert, the White's son, dies after the wish is made. The 200 pounds comes in the form of compensation for their son's death.

Mrs. White, distraught beyond comfort, demands that Mr. White wish for Herbert to be alive again. Mr. White, knowing the power of the paw (and remembering the warning about it), initially refuses. He believes that the wish will go as horribly wrong as the wish for money. Unfortunately, Mr. White relinquishes and makes the wish.

Soon after, the Whites hear a knocking on their door. Mrs. White, knowing it is Herbert, races to open it. Mr. White stops her. Having no other choice, Mr. White uses the final wish to rid himself of his son's newly reanimated body--before his wife can open the door. 

In the end, everything which had happened was because the Whites challenged fate. Therefore, they are responsible for their undoing.


ankita009 | Student

the whites did not give any credance to the warnings given by sergeant major or the tale of the misfortunes of the previous owner of the monkeys paw. for, they did not believe in fate. So, after herbert making light of the suspicions about the paw, mr. white wishes for two hundred pounds.

the wish gets fulfilled in the most dreadful manner. thw whites lost their only son around whom their life revolved. they themselves were responsible for this misfortune too; if they let sergeant major burn the paw, this would have never happened. it was all beacuse of their greed that they lost their son. but u can't exactly bleam them completely because no one could have ever guessed that a simple wish as this one would be granted in such a way.

thus, more or less, the whites are more or less responsible for the tragedy.


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The Monkey's Paw

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