In "The Monkey's Paw," the White family's initial response to Sergeant Major Morris's claims about the monkey's paw is mainly what? 

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The initial response that the White family has about the monkey's paw (from W.W. Jacobs' short story "The Monkey's Paw") is one of curiosity. All three members of the family ask questions and listen with interest to Sergeant-Major Morris's tale.

Soon after, it seems that Mrs. White loses interest in the paw, even questions its powers given the suggestion she makes for a wish. Rising to finish dinner, Mrs. White asks her husband to wish for something quite obnoxious (and funny):

Sounds like the 'Arabian Nights'", said Mrs. White, as she rose and began to set the supper. "Don't you think you might wish for four pairs of hands for me."

Actually, after this comment, the entire family burst into laughter as if the monkey's paw was as ridiculous as the hopeful wish.

Her husband drew the talisman from his pocket, and all three burst into laughter as the Sergeant-Major, with a look of alarm on his face, caught him by the arm.

Obviously, the Sergeant-Major has far more respect for the monkey's paw than do the Whites.

mkcapen1 | Student

Mr. White is the first to hear about the monkey's paw from Sergeant Major Morris.  Initially the family members are curious about the magic claims that Morris makes about the paw.  They lean inward to hear his conversation on the topic demonstrating a strong interest and curiosity in the topic. 

The White's become even more curious when they learn that the paw has wishes available to three people and still may be given to a third person.  Their curiosity and desires lead them to grabbing the paw out of the fire after the Sergeant tosses it in to burn.  Even though the White's now possess the paw, they are doubtful of its power.