As the story begins, the mood is quite calm and pleasant. Though it's cold and wet outside, the atmosphere inside the Whites' villa is warm, cozy, and inviting. Mr. White and his son are enjoying a game of chess in the small parlor while Mrs. White sits by the fire, knitting.
Such a calm and placid mood makes subsequent events all the more horrifying. The Whites are presented as an ordinary family leading an ordinary life in an ordinary house. And it's this very ordinariness that provides such a contrast to the strange, mystical powers of the monkey's paw. The irruption of the paw and its magic properties into the lives of the White family will be anything but ordinary. Thanks to the foolishness of the Whites in making three wishes on the monkey's paw, the cold, wet atmosphere outside their villa and the darkness it symbolizes will, in due course, come to invade this cozy little house, bringing with it death, misfortune, and tragedy.