How can we analyse Saki's portrayal of the "child " in his short story "The Open Window"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Vera, the precocious child who outwits all the adults in Saki's "The Open Window" completely controls any situation.  When Framton Nuttel arrives, Vera--whose very name carries ironic meaning--is sent by her aunt to entertain Nuttel until Mrs. Stappleton arrives.  After she ascertains that Nuttel knows no one in the area, Vera weaves her story, cleverly utilizing the open frame of the French doors as the setting of her tall-tale.  Perspicacious, Vera has realized that Framton Nuttel is a nervous type, so she creates a horror tale of her uncles' having been engulfed in a treacherous bog. Thus, she cunningly exposes the foibles of Nuttel to her aunt in a most embarrassing way for him.

While she tells her tale to Nuttel, Vera convinces him of its veracity through superb acting.  For, she tells Framton that she gets "a creepy feeling" that they just might return, and she breaks off "with a little shudder."  Then, when Mrs. Stappleton arrives and explains that the men will return, just as Vera has told him she would, Framton becomes on edge only to be absolutely horrified when Vera looks "with dazed horror in her eyes" as Mrs. Stappleton cries out "Here they are at last!" and the men actually come towards the window just as described.  Undaunted by Framton's terrified flight, Vera, with great histrionics, calmly responds to her aunt's wonderment with a spontaneous fabrication that again explains everything.

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