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.

Expert Answers
jmj616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.