In the short story "The Mouse" by Saki, what is the climax, meaning, and summary of the story?

Expert Answers
lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the short story, "The Mouse," by Saki, the main character is a gentleman who is sitting next to a lady on a train. The gentleman realizes that a mouse is in his clothing. He is in fear and embarrassment at the thoughts of having to remove his clothing in front of the lady. Of course, she is sleeping and will not notice. Therefore, the gentleman puts up a rug between his carriage and the lady's carriage.

After the gentleman has disrobed, the mouse jumps out, but at the same time, the rug falls and the lady awakes. The gentleman bgrabs the rug to cover himself. He begins explaining why he is covered in a rug, only partially clothed. He explains about the mouse. The woman seems to not care one way or another about the gentleman's lack of clothing.

Approaching the train station, the gentleman realizes he will have to drop the rug and begin clothing himself in front of the lady next to him. He feels he has no other option. He drops the rug and puts his clothes on again. The woman seems to not mind.

Arriving at the train station, the lady asks the gentleman if he will call someone to help her off the train. The climax of the story occurs when she states that she is blind. Ironically, she has not seen anything that the gentleman was trying to hide from her. The gentleman has been embarrassed for no reason.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The climax of the story is at the very end, when Theodoric's traveling companion informs him that she is blind, something that he hasn't noticed before. He feels horribly ashamed as he believes his fellow passenger has seen him disrobing behind his railway rug to extricate a mouse from inside his clothing.

The summary of the story is that Theodoric is the type of man who wants no intrusion on his comfort or privacy, and he has been raised in this manner. Before arriving at the train, he was required by the hostess of the house where he had been staying to help her harness the horse. This act required him to go into a stable that smelled of mice, and he resented it. Therefore, when he gets on board the train, he only wants to relax and wants all his troubles to be over. He is the sort of person who thinks mainly of himself and his needs. 

The meaning of the story is that people are often so engrossed in their own petty problems that they don't recognize the profound suffering or needs of others.