illustration of an open-faced monkey's paw with a skull design on the palm

The Monkey's Paw

by W. W. Jacobs

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What was Mr. White's response to having three wishes in "The Monkey's Paw"?

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In W.W. Jacobs short story "The Monkey's Paw" Mr. White is quite intrigued by the talisman and the idea it can grant wishes. In fact, he introduces the topic into the discussion when Sergeant Major Morris visits the White family. Morris had mentioned the paw in an earlier conversation and Mr. White brings it up again in the presence of his wife and son, Herbert. Despite the ominous stories about the paw, including that one man who had the paw wished for death, Mr. White purchases it from Morris. At first Mr. White is unsure what to wish for but after some light hearted banter with his son Herbert and at Herbert's suggestion, he wishes for two hundred pounds, the exact amount it would take to pay off the mortgage on his house. When the paw unexpectedly moves in Mr. White's hand and Herbert sees grotesque faces in the fire, it is not surprising that Mr. White's last two wishes will be for Herbert to first live again, and then to be dead again.

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