Can "The Open Window" fall into the category of horror?Hi. I have to compare this story to another horror story. Can I say that this story is a psychological horror story, since it toys the mind...

Can "The Open Window" fall into the category of horror?

Hi. I have to compare this story to another horror story. Can I say that this story is a psychological horror story, since it toys the mind and psyche? I was actually planning to say that this story has elements of sardonic humour but I do not know how to connect this to horror.

Asked on by blessme

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

You are correct that "The Open Window" by H.H. Munro (known as Saki) contains elements of both humor and horror.

The story of fifteen year-old Vera "putting one over" on the nervous Mr. Nuttel is clearly the tale of a successful practical joke.

On a deeper level, however, the story is about the fine lines that separate reality from illusion and sanity from insanity.  Vera's story is in many ways perfectly plausible: hunters sometimes are killed, and their families sometimes irrationally wait years for them to return.  Mr. Nuttel is certainly a nervous man, and it is not surprising that the apparent realization of Vera's story is enough to push him over the edge to insanity.

These "games" of reality/illusion and sanity/insanity are standard tools-of-the-trade of horror writers.  They create monsters that are just a bit more frightening than many real-life dangers and they push their characters over the brink of sanity.

In this respect, "The Open Door" can be considered a horror story.

 

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