The Stolen Party

by Liliana Heker

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How do authors use conflict in "The Storyteller" by Saki and "The Stolen Party" by Liliana Heker?

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"The Storyteller" by Saki represents two versions of reality: a traditional, old-fashioned view of the world as represented by the Aunt's story to the children, and then a much more cynical but real view of the world as presented by the batchelor, whose story changes Bertha's ending to one where...

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her "medals for goodness" become the cause of her eventual death at the hands of the wolf. The subversion of the traditional function of such stories, which were meant to instil in children obedience to adults and promote goodness, creates a conflict that the batchelor wins through the children's obvious preference for this kind of story rather than the rather tame and boring stories that their aunt tells them. Note how the story ends with the aunt lamenting that the children will ask her for "inappropriate stories" from now on thanks to the corrupting influence of the batchelor.

In "The Stolen Party," the conflict again comes through different versions of reality, however this story is much more serious and tragic as Rosaura, the story's protagonist, comes to realise she is not actually part of the society she has entered and is only a paid employee, just like her mother. Note her reaction when Senora Ines, instead of giving her a toy like all the other children, gives her money:

Rosaura felt her arms stiffen, stick close to her body, and then she noticed her mother's hand on her shoulder. Instinctively she pressed herself against her mother's body. That was all. Except her eyes. Rosaura's eyes had a cold, clear look that fixed itself on Senora Ines's face.

The conflict in this story is between Rosaura's belief that she is special and a "countess," as the magician tells her, and that she is part of this society. The ending cruelly takes this notion away from her as she realises that she is not a part of this glittering world that she loves so much and she is only allowed to enter it because of the paid service that she offers. This epiphany is one that transforms Rosaura, as indicated through the change in her expression towards Senora Ines.

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