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What is the irony in "The Open Window"?

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ashlei66 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 18, 2009 at 10:23 AM via web

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What is the irony in "The Open Window"?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 19, 2009 at 8:42 AM (Answer #1)

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The irony in this story is that Nuttel has gone to the country on his sister's recommendation because she felt that he would be better off being around people.  Nuttel goes to find peace and quiet for his nervous condition and finds the exact opposite.  Instead of helping his condition, Vera with her tall tale, actually pushes Nuttel into a frenzy of fear and anxiety, making his condition far worse. 

Irony is when the outcome is in direct contrast to what is expected.

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kc4u | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted October 29, 2009 at 8:02 PM (Answer #3)

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The irony in Saki's short story The Open Window is operative on many levels. Its source in the story at the level of the character is the smart storytelling niece of Mrs. Sappleton, Vera but there is irony operative on the genre of the story as well. It uses the Horror/Mystery genre ironically as the resolution makes a fake out of it. The twist at the end is also a twist on the generic level of the story.

Irony is both verbal and situational in the story. From the vantage point of the story's end, we can say that Vera's storytelling is a piece of verbal irony while the flesh and blood appearance of Mr. Sappleton through the open window at the end is a situational irony. After the storytelling, the moment of Mrs. Sappleton's arrival is also marked with verbal irony as she asks Nuttel whether he was well entertained by Vera, who has that nack in general.

The closing section is also full of verbal irony as Vera invents another story (that of Nuttel's dog-fear) to explain Nuttel's reaction to the entry of Mr. Sappleton and company. The final example of verbal irony comes in the last line where the third person omniscient narrator sarcastically praises Vera's talent of producing at readiness, a romance out of nowhere.

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 18, 2009 at 10:30 AM (Answer #2)

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The irony is that Vera is lying to Framton Nuttel about her aunt's "tragedy" The entire episode is make up by Vera as soon as she hears that Nuttel knows nothing about the Stappletons. Her uncle and his hunting party have really just gone out for a day and are returning the way the left that morning. However, when Nuttel sees them, he is convinced he is seeing a ghost and runs away. Vera then calmly begins another lie about Nuttel being terrified by dogs every since he spent the night in a newly dug grave in India. Saki adds at the end of the story, ''romance at short
notice," was Vera's specialty. In other words, making up stories on a moment's notice was her "talent".

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isuwi | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted July 8, 2012 at 5:13 PM (Answer #4)

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Vera's name itself shows the irony because her name means truth but she is for real deceitful.she is very keen with her story telling ability that framton without a question believes her. the fact that Framton Nuttel feels very concerned and sypathised on the aunt when she enters the room for he is the one who should be sympathised for being deceived by Vera.

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s-ib | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 29, 2009 at 9:22 PM (Answer #5)

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Saki presents Vera at the beginning of the story as a self-possessed young lady whichleads the readers to the mistaken impression that she is a respectful character, therefor anything she says shall be trusted. He also chose the name Vera which means truth. The irony is revealed when the readers learn that Vera, and against all expectations, played a childish practical joke that fooled Mr.Nuttel, the Sappletons, and the readers.

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