I am in need of brief information about the characters of Nicholas and the aunt in "The Lumber Room."

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In her biography of Saki, Munro’s sister writes,

One of Munro’s aunts, Augusta, was a woman of ungovernable temper, of fierce likes and dislikes, imperious, a moral coward, possessing no brains worth speaking of, and a primitive disposition.

This description is certainly an apt one for the self-appointed aunt of Nicholas and his siblings. Likewise, Nicholas is rather autobiographical as his nature is similar to that of  Saki himself. 


Nicholas is an ingenious prankster -

  • He puts a frog in his bowl, then tells his aunt there is a frog in his bowl, so that she can deny it and be proven wrong.
  • He outwits his aunt as he uses her own words against her when she asks him to enter the garden and help her. When she tells him it is all right to enter, Nicholas accuses her of being the "Evil One" who is tempting him,

"Your voice doesn't sound like aunt's," objected Nicholas; "you may be the Evil One tempting me to be disobedient. Aunt often tells me that the Evil One tempts me and that I always yield. This time I'm not going to yield."

  • He catches the aunt in her erroneous pronouncements such as the Bobby's boots not hurting him, and the beach's being a good place to visit that day.

He is very imaginative, unlike the aunt.

  • In the lumber room, he regards a tapestry and creates an original story behind it.

The aunt

  • She has no sense of fun
  • She is narrow-minded and unimaginative. Saki describes her as 

...a woman of few ideas, with immense powers of concentration.

  • She acts punitively and nitpicks about insignificant things
  • She does not listen to the children's wants and needs
  • She refuses to admit any fault in herself