How does Framton Nuttel react to Vera’s story of the “great tragedy" in Saki's "The Open Window"?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Framton Nuttel is completely taken in by Vera’s story about the “great tragedy.” The girl’s last words are interrupted by the arrival of her aunt, whose conversation only reinforces the impression Framton has already formed of a woman who became mentally unbalanced by the tragedy and who expects her husband and brothers to return from shooting, exactly as Vera had said.

To Framton it was all purely horrible. He made a desperate but only partially successful effort to turn the talk on to a less ghastly topic.

Framton is still mainly concerned about his personal troubles and tries to tell Mrs.Sappleton all about them.

“The doctors agree in ordering me complete rest, an absence of mental excitement, and avoidance of anything in the nature of violent physical exercise.”

It is ironic that he specifies exactly what he needs just moments before Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and her brothers appear outside headed for the open window. If Framton had managed to put the horror out of his mind, it returns again with “a chill shock of nameless fear” when  Mrs. Sappleton says, “Here they are at last!” and Framton swings around in his seat and sees the three men approaching with the little brown spaniel. The fact that all of the men are carrying guns only makes them seem that much more threatening.


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