Who are the central characters and what details or lack thereof does the author use to develop them?
The central characters in The Monkey's Paw are:
Mr. White, Mrs. White, Herbert, their son, Sergeant Major Morris, friend of the Whites who has served in India, the stranger who comes from Herbert's factory, and the monkey's paw itself.
The author leaves out all the details of Sergeant Major Morris's wishes or the first two wishes of the first owner of the monkey's paw. The author does not tell us anything about the first owner of the monkey's paw, except that his third wish was for death.
We really don't know why, knowing this, why, Sergeant Major Morris even made any wishes on the monkey's paw at all. It seems like he should have known better, considering that the first owner wished for death.
The reader also does not understand why the Whites are so eager to use the monkey's paw when they also know the horrific results that it rendered to both the first owner and Sergeant Major Morris.
Sergeant Major Morris tries to get rid of the monkey's paw, by putting it in the fire at the White's home, but Mr. White pulls it out of the flames. Yet Sergeant Major Morris leaves the dreaded monkey's paw with the Whites, I thought he was their friend. Why didn't he just throw it off a cliff or throw it in the ocean.
The author allows Sergeant Major Morris to pass the monkey's paw to one last owner, even though he knows it will bring them tragedy and misery.