The Monkeys Paw – Understanding Plot Assignment

The Monkey’s Paw – Understanding Plot Assignment

1. a) Character vs. Character: Mr. White vs. Mrs. White. Mrs. White forces Mr. White to wish for their son, Herbert, to come alive again, but Mr. White knows there will be a consequence (Herbert will come back a zombie, or such thing) and does not want to make the wish. 2. Character vs. Unknown: Mr. White vs. the knocking on the door. Mr. White doesn’t want to help Mrs. White open the door because he is afraid of what is on the other side. Mr. White fears his son will come back a zombie. 3. Character vs. Himself: Mr. White vs. Himself.

Numerous times throughout the story Mr. White faces an internal conflict about making a wish with the paw. At first, Mr. White doesn’t want to wish because he says

b) Protagonist: Mr. WhiteAntagonist: Sergeant Major Morris

The protagonist in The Monkey’s Paw is Mr. White because he is the character making all of the wishes throughout the story. The antagonist is the Sergeant Major because he gives Mr. White the monkey’s paw, which creates all of the problems in the story.

2. The story begins on a cold, wet night at Mr. and Mrs. White’s home. Mrs. White is knitting by the bright fire while Mr. White and his son Herbert play chess. They are waiting for Sergeant Major to arrive.

3. The inciting incident occurs when Sergeant Major leaves the monkey’s paw with Mr. White because the rising action begins after Mr. White makes his first wish.

4. i) Herbert asks Mr. White to wish for 200 pounds

ii) Herbert gets killed at work -> Mr. White gets 200 pounds iii) Mrs. White forces Mr. White to wish for Herbert to come alive

5. The climax of the story happens when Mrs. White is struggling to open the door for Herbert while Mr. White is rushing to find the monkeys paw to make
his third and final wish for Herbert to disappear. The door flies open as soon as he makes the last wish and the street is empty. We know this is the climax of the story because all of Mr. White’s three wishes are gone and nothing more can happen with the monkey’s paw.

6. The conflict between Mr. and Mrs. White ends when Mrs. White opens the door and sees an empty street after Mr. White made his last wish. Mrs. White is disappointed that her son is not there but Mr. White rushes to her side to comfort her. The conflict between Mr. White and the unknown creature that Herbert might be, ends as soon as Mr. White makes his last wish for Herbert to go back to his grave. Mr. White’s internal conflict also ends when he makes his last wish because now there are no more wishes to be made.

7. See question #11

8. The Monkey’s Paw is told in first person narration. The narrator is not a character in the story, he just tells the story.

9. a) After Mr. White makes his first wish for two hundred pounds and it doesn’t show up immediately, Herbert says “Well, I don’t see the money, and I bet I never shall”. This is a form of irony because as it turns out, the consequence of that wish is Herbert’s death so Herbert never sees the money – just like he said. b) The next day before Herbert goes to work, he makes a comment saying “Well, don’t break into the money before I come back”. This comment is also ironic because Herbert never comes back. c) Another form of irony, which is broader than the last two examples, is that The White’s think of the monkey’s paw as a solution to all of there problems. The irony of this is that nothing could be further from the truth. The monkey’s paw end up causing them nothing but misery.

10. Throughout the story, the characters of Mr. and Mrs. White go through many changes. The first example is at the beginning of the story; they are a happy couple that “seems to have all they want”. At the end of the story, they are fighting with each other and they are both overwhelmed with grief from the loss of their son. Individually, Mr. White seems to be more slow-witted than Mrs. White at the beginning. The first example of this is when Mr. White does poorly at chess and loses the game to Herbert. Another example is when the man from Herbert’s work comes bearing the bad news about Herbert’s death, Mr. White is slow to understand the meaning of his visit, but Mrs. White catches on right away.

These personality traits are later reversed when Mrs. White fails to realize that the Monkey’s paw brings trouble with every wish. After Mrs. White forces Mr. White to wish for Herbert to come alive again, Mr. White becomes the quick-witted one when he concludes evil is on the other side of the door, realizing the paw has punished him again for being greedy.

11. Suspense has been created in The Monkey’s Paw in the scene where Mrs. White realizes the paw will grant Mr. White two more wishes. Suspense is first created when Mrs. White asks Mr. White to wish for Herbert to come alive again. As readers, we know something bad is going to happen if the wish is made and are not sure if Mr. White is going to comply with Mrs. White’s orders. The level of suspense builds after Mr. White wishes for Herbert to come alive again and the knocking on the door starts. The suspense reaches the climax as Mrs. White is fumbling around trying to open the door to let Herbert in, while Mr. White tries to find the Monkey’s paw to make his third and final wish for Herbert to return to his grave. Mr. White finds the paw and makes his wish at the same time the door flies open, revealing an empty street.

12. The sergeant major describes the paw as magic – that it grants three men three wishes, but with consequences. He tells the Whites about the first man to wish and how he used his third wish for death. This foreshadows that the paw causes a great amount of grief. He then throws the paw into the fire and tells Mr. White to “let it burn”, warning him not to touch it. Mr. White disregards the sergeant and does exactly what he told him not to do. The sergeant also tells Mr. White that an old fakir put a spell on it to show that people who interfere with fate do so to their sorrow. This is another example of how foreshadowing is used to show the reader that the paw will cause mischief later in the story. Even though the sergeant tells Mr. White all of this, Mr. White chooses to ignore the warnings and continues to make his first wish.


14. Yes, the sergeant major does deserve some of the blame. Although he threw the monkey’s paw into the fire and warned Mr. White many times not to wish, when Mr. White asked him how to use it to make a wish, the sergeant told him. Also, the sergeant wasn’t very specific when he was talking about the ‘danger’ of the paw. He should have explained his own experiences and what consequences he faced when he made his three wishes.

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