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What is the plot of "The Open Window"?

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janetdrc | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 6, 2008 at 12:50 AM via web

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What is the plot of "The Open Window"?

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dbrooks22 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted November 6, 2008 at 2:58 AM (Answer #1)

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Frampton Nuttel suffers from a nervous condition and has come to spend some time alone. His sister sets up introductions for him with a few members of the community. His first visit is to the Sappleton house where he meets fifteen-year-old Vera, the niece of Mrs. Sappleton. Vera keeps Nuttel company while he waits. Upon hearing that Nuttel has not met the Sappletons, Vera tells Nuttel some information about the family. Vera says that three years ago to the date, Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and two younger brothers went on a hunting trip and never returned. Vera goes into detail about the clothes they were wearing, the dog that accompanied them, and the song that Mrs. Sappleton’s brother sang upon their return. Vera says that her grief-stricken aunt watches out the window expecting their return. When Mrs. Sappleton enters, she tells Nuttel that she expects her husband and brothers to return at any moment. Nuttel listens, thinking that Mrs. Sappleton has in fact gone crazy. Suddenly, Mrs. Sappleton brightens as she tells Nuttel that they have returned. Nuttel turns only to see the "dead" hunters. He becomes frightened and leaves in a rush. Mrs. Sappleton doesn’t understand Nuttel’s strange behavior, but Vera replies that he is deathly afraid of dogs.

Not until the end of the story does the reader realize that Vera has tricked Mr. Nuttel. This is revealed with the last line of the story: “Romance at short notice was her [Vera’s] specialty.”

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