The Monkey's Paw
How we cite our quotes:
In the huge new cemetery, some two miles distant, the old people buried their dead, and came back to a house steeped in shadow and silence. (3.1)
Herbert's death transforms the White's home from a happy place to one of sadness, grief, and darkness. Will the Whites ever be able to make their home happy again?
"Go and get it and wish," cried his wife, quivering with excitement.
The old man turned and regarded her, and his voice shook. "He has been dead ten days, and besides he – I would not tell you else, but – I could only recognize him by his clothing. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now?" (3.24)
Mr. White understands the way this whole wishing thing works, but he wishes Herbert back to life anyway – without specifying that the grave rot and physical disfigurement not be included in the package. This passage gets at our fears of death and dead people. Notice how Mrs. White's grief causes her to forget these fears.
He raised his hand. "I wish my son alive again." (3.31)
We never come face to face with the undead Herbert, and are therefore never sure if he does come back to life again.