The White family are sitting and talking. Herbert and his father play chess whilst his Mother knits. Mr White is complaining about the state of the path outside.
Sargent Major Morris arrives, an old friend of Mr White. He talks to them about his life in India and mentions the monkey's paw, which has brought him terrible luck. He throws it on the fire but Mr White grabs it. Mr White wants to keep it.
Morris leaves, giving Mr White the paw. Herbert wants to make a wish but his parents are worried. He tells his dad to wish for £200 to fix the drive. Mr White does, the paw moves and he drops it. Nothing else happens. The family continue as normal and the next day, Herbert goes to work.
The next day, a man visits who is smartly dressed. He tells the Whites that their son was killed in a factory accident. He tells them he will give them £200 compensation but won't accept responsibility. He hands over the money and leaves the Whites to bury Herbert.
Torn with grief, Mr and Mrs White become very sad and the house becomes dull and oppressive. Out of desperation, Mrs White forces her husband to wish for their son to be alive again. Mr White worries and feels it is against God. They make the wish and the paw moves. Mr White drops it but nothing happens.
Mrs White goes to the window to watch for her son. Mr White is torn between grief and fear when he hears the knock at the door. It gets louder and Mrs White tries to desperately open it. Mr White panics, searches for the monkey's paw and wishes for his son to be gone.