Why does Sergeant-Major Morris throw the paw onto the fire, and who gave the paw to Mr.White?  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Sergeant-Major Morris visits Mr. White's home, Mr. White encourages Morris to elaborate further on his story about the monkey's paw. Morris reluctantly explains to the White family how an old fakir put a spell on the monkey's paw to show people that fate ruled their lives. Morris also explains that the spell grants three different men three wishes each. When Mrs. White asks if anyone else has been granted three wishes, Morris says that the previous owner's third wish was for death, which is how he got the paw. Morris then mentions that he had no luck at selling it and tells Mr. White that he isn't sure he'd want three wishes again, which indicates that the paw is evil.

Morris then throws the monkey's paw into the fire and refuses to give it to Mr. White. However, Mr. White grabs the paw out of the fire before it burns and Morris tells him,

"I threw it on the fire. If you keep it, don’t hold me responsible for what happens. Throw it on the fire like a sensible man." (3)

Morris threw the monkey's paw into the fire because he knew that only evil would result from any one making three wishes with the paw. He does not want to see his friend harmed in any way, which is why Morris disposes of it. Unfortunately, Mr. White saves the paw before it burns and suffers the consequences attached to making three wishes.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nobody gave the paw to Mr. White.  He grabbed it off the fire himself when Morris threw it there.

Morris threw it there because he did not want anyone else to have it.  He knew that any wishes that someone made would be granted, but they would probably be granted in a very bad way.

Because he knew that, he wanted to just burn the paw and be done with it (I don't know why he hadn't just thrown it away before).  But instead, Mr. White grabbed it.

Just as Morris predicted, the White family soon wished that Mr. White had not gotten the paw and had not made any wishes.

mkcapen1 | Student

In the short story "The Monkey's Paw" the Whites and Sergeant-Major Morris are sitting by the fire talking.  Mr. Morris is sharing a tale with the White's about the monkey paw.  He is telling them how it has the power to give three wishes.  Mr. White is intrigued.  Morris is concerned because he knows that the monkey's paw has brought nothing but grief and tragedy to those who have made wishes using it.  He tosses it into the fire so he can end its ability to harm anyone else.  However, Mr. White is excited and curious if the paw actually works.  He grabs it off of the fire so that it will not be destroyed so that later on he can test its abilities.