What human weaknesses are revealed by members of the White family in "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs?

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The human weaknesses revealed in the short story are people's inherent desire to attain things they do not have and that a person's best quality can often become their worst. Mr. White, who is reckless in small ways, ends up using the cursed monkey's paw to ask for two hundred...

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The human weaknesses revealed in the short story are people's inherent desire to attain things they do not have and that a person's best quality can often become their worst. Mr. White, who is reckless in small ways, ends up using the cursed monkey's paw to ask for two hundred pounds to pay off the mortgage. Similar to his rash decision during the chess game with his son, Mr. White makes the thoughtless decision to ask for something he does not have using the monkey's paw. Despite the fact that Mr. White is a relatively reasonable man, his minor character flaw and inherent desire to attain something he does not possess leads to his fatal decision.

Mrs. White is portrayed as a loving, devoted mother who makes the terrible decision to beg her husband to use the monkey's paw in order to bring back her son. While no one can fault Mrs. White for wanting her son back, her strong emotions as a mother turn out to have terrible consequences. Overall, Jacobs reveals in his suspenseful short story that people inherently desire to possess things they do not have, and he illustrates the irony that a person's positive character traits can also become their worst.

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The human weakness that is displayed by the White family demonstrates perfectly the point of the monkey's paw, and what it was meant to show humans. Note what the sergeant-major tells the White family about the monkey's paw, and the reason why it was made:

"It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it."

The fakir created the monkey's paw to show that it was foolish to try and interfere in the fate that governs our lives as humans. The Whites, however, fall into just this trap, foolishly wishing for a sum of money, and then going on to make a wish for their son to return to them before finally realising the error of their ways and wishing that he would disappear again. The weakness of the Whites is therefore shown to be the desire to try and fight against their fate and change it, not being happy with what they are given by fate, and wanting more. The disastrous results show the truth of the fakir's objective: it is foolhardy and dangerous in the extreme to try and interfere in your own fate.

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