What was the backdrop against which Saki wrote "Sredni Vashtar"?  

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Saki wrote Sredni Vashtar against the backdrop of Edwardian bourgeois or upper-class society. As a well-known satirist, Saki (or Hector Hugh Munro) mercilessly lampooned aunts and female guardians in his stories. 

As such, the aunts in both The Lumber Room and Sredni Vashtar were unequivocally punished for their self-righteous despotism against their young charges. In Sredni Vashtar, as in The Lumber Room, Saki critiqued the hypocritical, hierarchical, and dysfunctional world of Edwardian upper-class society. Then, children were often seen as a trial to be equally endured and subdued; at the same time, they were deprived of personal agency and the ability to enjoy individual liberties.

Perhaps Saki's own background may have had something to do with his portrayal of female guardians in his stories. At the age of two, with the premature death of his mother, Saki was sent by his father to live with his aunts. They were strict, humorless, and puritanical in their approach to raising children. So, Saki wrote Sredni Vashtar against the backdrop of Edwardian high society and highlighted the helpless child's world of isolation and oppression amidst the grandeur of affluence and moral decay.

In Sredni Vashtar, animals join forces with the young male protagonist, Conradin, to outwit and defeat an implacable mutual enemy, Mrs. De Ropp. The story ends in typical Saki-inspired, macabre fashion: Mrs. de Ropp is murdered by Sredni Vashtar, the formidable polecat-ferret, Conradin's pagan god of deliverance. In the story, it can be seen that Saki highlights the childish potential for brutal vengeance and satirizes the Edwardian preoccupation with the superiority of adults over children.

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