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The Monkey’s Paw

W. W. Jacobs

List of Major Characters

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

Herbert White -  The son of Mr. and Mrs. White. Herbert is an irreverent, affectionate, and loyal young man and the only surviving child of the Whites. He works in an unidentified capacity with heavy machinery at a company called Maws and Meggins. It is possible, although not certain, that Mr. White’s second wish reanimates Herbert as a terrifying corpse.

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Mrs. White -  Herbert’s mother and Mr. White’s wife. Mrs. White is an intelligent and passionate woman. She shares her husband’s and son’s fascination with Sergeant-Major Morris’s stories and questions him just as eagerly as they do. She is lovingly attentive to her husband and son, although she also enjoys teasing them. Herbert’s death traumatizes Mrs. White, and she forces Mr. White to wish Herbert back to life.

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Mr. White -  Herbert’s father and Mrs. White’s husband. Mr. White is an old man who is both curious and malleable. A poor man, he thinks longingly about the exotic lands he has never visited. The monkey’s paw fascinates him in part because of its connection to those lands. Although it is Mr. White who makes all three wishes, he makes the first two only at the suggestions of his wife and son.

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Sergeant-Major Morris -  A friend of the Whites. A mysterious and possibly sinister figure, Sergeant-Major Morris enjoys talking about his adventures abroad and shows the Whites his monkey’s paw, in spite of his professed reservations. A jaded and world-weary man, he discourages Mr. White from dreaming of India, suggesting that life is better and simpler at home in England. He throws the monkey’s paw into the fire and urges Mr. White not to make any wishes, but he ultimately tells him exactly how to make a wish.
The Representative -  The man who informs Mr. and Mrs. White of Herbert’s death. The nervous representative sympathizes with the Whites and tries to distance himself from Maw and Meggins’s failure to take responsibility, stressing that he is following orders and not expressing his own feelings. He gives Mr. and Mrs. White two hundred pounds from the company.

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