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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Which character is the most likable or relatable in "The Monkey's Paw"?

Mr. White is the character most readers can relate to because they sympathize with his experience and would react similarly to the events that transpired surrounding the paw. Mr. White is a rational, typical man, who is not immediately convinced that the monkey's paw is magic. Readers can relate to his incredulity and would make similar decisions if they were in the same situation.

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Out of the four main characters in W.W. Jacobs's celebrated short story "The Monkey's Paw," Mr. White seems to be the easiest person to identify with because he is the protagonist of the story and many people can relate to his reaction to the events surrounding the monkey's paw. Jacobs primarily focuses on Mr. White's experience throughout the story and the audience can sympathize with his tragic situation. Many readers can also identify with Mr. White's initial response to the magic monkey's paw. When Sergeant-Major Morris takes out the talisman and mentions that it has been cursed by a fakir, Mr. White does not take him seriously. His reaction is typical, and many readers would behave similarly if their friend produced a magic monkey's paw. One cannot blame Mr. White for wishing upon the talisman because the idea of it being cursed seems so ridiculous.

Readers can also identify with Mr. White's tragic situation and would be reluctant to immediately blame the monkey's paw for the coincidental death of their son. Unlike his hysterical wife, Mr. White is more discerning and points out that their son has been dead for ten days and was unrecognizable when he died. Readers can identify with Mr. White's reasoning to not immediately wish upon the talisman as well as his decision to wish his son back to the grave after hearing Herbert's zombie corpse knock on the door. Mr. White's character is also dynamic and changes from being naive and dismissive of the monkey's paw to guilt-ridden, and fearful, a man who recognizes the power of the malevolent talisman. Overall, readers can identify with Mr. White's difficult situation, would react similarly to him under the same circumstances, and sympathize with his unfortunate experience.

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