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

The Monkey's Paw

by W. W. Jacobs

Start Free Trial

In "The Monkey's Paw," why does Mrs. White ask for help?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

W. W. Jacobs short story, "The Monkey's Paw," tells a tale of a charm (a monkey's paw) which will grant the one who possesses it three wishes. For their first wish, the White family decides to ask for a modest amount of money (200 pounds). After the wish is made, their son (Herbert) goes to work. Later, the Herbert's family is told the horrible news that their son had died at work. Their compensation for his death is 200 pounds.

Mrs. White, distraught by her son's death, asks for the next wish to bring her son back to life (asking for help #1). The second way Mrs. White asks for help is when she asks her husband to let her go (he has grabbed her arm to prevent her from opening the door), so that she can answer the knocking at the door (she believes it is Herbert).

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team