At the center of "The Monkey's Paw" is the White family. The family is made up of Mr. and Mrs. White and their adult son Herbert. Their loving home is disrupted by the arrival of the monkey's paw and Herbert's subsequent death. Morris mentioned that wishing on the monkey's paw leads to utter disaster, and the fact that Mr. White's first wish is twisted such that Herbert dies indicates that a death in the family is the worst possible thing that could happen to the Whites – worse, for example, than losing their home. Mr. and Mrs. White's intense grief over Herbert highlights how much they adored their son, as does Mrs. White's desire to have her son back, no matter the cost.
Without Herbert, the Whites will never feel like a family again.
Mr. and Mrs. White's relationship makes this not just a horror classic, but a tender love story as well.