W. W. Jacobs

Start Your Free Trial

Who are the characters of the story The Monkey's Paw?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write9,574 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Mr. White is the head of the family. He's a fairly conventional, dignified old man. He's quite poor, and his genteel poverty leads him to use the monkey's paw to make a half-serious wish for £200. Though initially quite skeptical about the magic talisman, he's unique among the White family in that he realizes early on that they are messing around with dark, dangerous forces. 

Mrs. White tends to regard the legend of the monkey's paw as a bit of harmless fun; something not to be taken seriously. She's a happy-go-lucky kind of person, that is, until the malevolent power of the monkey's paw works its evil magic. The monkey's paw doesn't simply take away her son; it almost deprives her of her sanity. Almost, because despite her overwhelming grief, she still has the presence of mind to suggest using the paw to bring back Herbert from the dead.

Herbert White is young, happy, and a little immature, perhaps, but generally a very likeable character. He's fascinated by the legend of the monkey's paw, though more than a tad skeptical. Sadly, he's too young and naive to comprehend just how potentially dangerous it is, with tragic consequences.

The Sergeant-Major arrives at the White residence and proceeds to tell everyone the tale of the monkey's paw, which he's brought along with him. He's an older man, dignified, grave and mature. It's clear from his overall demeanor that he takes the legend of the monkey's paw with deadly seriousness. Unfortunately, no one really takes him seriously until it's too late.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ask a Question