The Monkey's Paw
How we cite our quotes:
"If you only cleared the house, you'd be quite happy, wouldn't you?" said Herbert, with his hand on his shoulder. "Well, wish for two hundred pounds, then; that'll just do it." (1.55)
Next to food and love, what is the number one thing a family needs? A place to live, right? The Whites, we learn here, have to pay the bank every month or they will lose their home. Notice that it's Herbert bringing this up. Since he's the one working, it's probably up to him to make this monthly payment. Although he seems cheery about it here, it probably causes him a lot of stress.
"He was the only one left to us," he said, turning gently to the visitor. "It is hard." (2.23)
These two brief sentences from Mr. White reveal that Herbert was not their only child. We aren't given any details beyond this, but the point is made: the Whites have been through this before. They have now outlived all their children.
It was all over so quickly that at first they could hardly realize it, and remained in a state of expectation as though of something else to happen--something else which was to lighten this load, too heavy for old hearts to bear. (3.1)
These lines foreshadow Mrs. White's crazy plan to use the paw to put what's left of her family back together again. Do you think Mr. and Mrs. White will ever be able to find happiness again? Can they find comfort in each other?