What is compared and what is contrasted in the short story "The Open Window" by Saki?

2 Answers | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Saki's short story "Open Window" that becomes a practical joke not only  draws comparisons between the guillible Nuttel and the reader, who is often taken in by the well-told tall tale, and Mrs. Sappleton.  In contrast to all these, there is  Vera, ironically named after the Latin word for truth

When the nervous Nuttel arrives with a letter of introduction for his country rest for his nerves with the Sappletons, the niece of Mrs. Sappleton is sent down to keep Framton company. The precocious girl finds Nuttel less than intriguing, so she fabricates a credible tale about the reason the large French doors, is open. Since her tale of the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Sappleton and his son contains enough verisimilitude to be believable, when the vacuous Mrs. Sappleton finally enters the room and remarks that she is expecting her husband and son to return through the window so that they will not soil the rug in the other room, Nuttel assumes that Vera's description of her aunt as rather distracted is true as the woman

rattled on cheefully about the shooting and the scarcity of birds, and the prospects for duck in the winter.

Then, when Mrs. Sappleton exclaims, "Here they are at last!" and Vera stares out the window in "dazed horror," he feels a "nameless fear," jumps up, and flees the room in terror of the supposed ghosts.  Even Mrs. Sappleton is guillible, for when Vera "explains" that Nuttel has a horror of dogs because of spending a night with a pack snarling over him, she believes her niece. 

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Vera and Mrs. Sappleton are compared and contrasted because they are both playing hostess but playing their roles quite differently.

Vera and Framton are contrasted in many ways. She is young and he is middle-aged. She is female and he is male. She is "self-possessed" and relaxed and he is uptight and frightened. She is dressed for indoors, while he is dressed for outdoor traveling, complete with hat and stick. She is an insider in this household, he is a stranger and an outsider.

Framton is contrasted with the three bird hunters. They are active, robust country types, while he is a frail city dweller who feels out of place in the countryside. Framton has probably never shot a gun in his life. He is neat and fastidious, while they are covered with mud and probably some blood.

Vera is contrasted with her brother Ronnie. He likes to go out shooting, while her favorite pastime is probably to curl up with a good book.



We’ve answered 318,029 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question