Make a Venn diagram between the short stories "Like a Sun" and "The Open Window."

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In making the Venn diagram, here are the things that can be put in the center where the two circles intersect:

  • Themes of Truth - Both stories revolve around what is done with the truth
  • Price of telling/not telling truth - What is said by the main characters who interact with others and how it affects these people
  • Reaction to the use of truth - Other characters react strongly to the voice of what they believe is the truth
  • Both Sekhar's and Vera's results are negative.

On the left side - "Like a Sun":

  • Sekhar feels that people "must give and tell absolute Truth whatever may happen." He sets aside a day to be truthful all day 
  • Sekhar maintains his integrity even when his administrator asks him for an honest opinion about his musical ability. Although he hurts the man's feelings, the administrator expresses his gratitude for telling him the truth, but he retracts his deadline for Sekhar to finish grading papers. 
  • Sekhar, humbled, feels that having "to grade papers in one night is a small price to pay for the luxury of Truth." 

On the right side - "The Open Window"

  • Vera, Mrs. Stappleton's niece, having been sent to entertain Mr. Framton, decides to create a tall tale to frighten the nervous little man. This tale she embellishes with some true details--

"Out through that window, three years ago...her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting."

But, she embellishes this truth in order to frighten Framton,

They never came back....they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog."

When the men return, Framton is so terrified that he runs out. Then, when questioned by her aunt, Vera unashamedly again fabricates another tale.

rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The center of the diagram, which indicates what the two stories have in common, would be the theme of truthfulness or, perhaps, belief. In “Like the Sun,” Sekhar decides that for one day he must tell only the truth; Vera, in “The Open Window,” is an expert at telling detailed lies that seem to be the truth. Both are interested the reaction of others. Both characters are engaging in “experiments,” to use Sekhar’s word, and both want to see what will happen.

The “Like the Sun” side of the diagram would include Sehkar’s motivation—his sense that telling the truth will somehow ennoble him or that it is an expression of integrity. The result of him telling the truth is also different: the headmaster believes him when he says his singing is no good, but he still punishes him by making Sehkar grade 100 papers in a night. Nevertheless, Sekhar feels the punishment is worth it for being true to his principles.

The other side of the diagram, about “The Open Window,” would include Vera’s motivation, which seems to be simply mischief. Her story is made up on the spot to prey on Framton’s already shaky nerves and is as much a trick on her aunt as it is on the visitor. Vera, apparently suffers no punishment, and it is not clear if she is ever found out.

Read the study guide:
The Open Window

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