What is one example of irony in "The Open Window," and what type of irony is it?

One example of irony in "The Open Window" is Saki's use of situational irony. In this case, Saki provides this story with all the trappings of a ghost story and builds up readers' expectations along such lines, only to provide a far more mundane explanation at the end.

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Situational irony plays on our expectations of what should be or what will happen by having something different or opposite occur. An example of this story's situation irony comes from the presupposition that being in a quiet country setting will help Mr. Nuttel's shattered nerves to heal. In fact, the opposite occurs, as Vera's ghost story leaves him more shattered than ever.

A second example of situational irony is Mr. Nuttel's sister's assertion that he will better off visiting people in the country than being on his own. She says,

you will bury yourself down there and not speak to a living soul, and your nerves will be worse than ever from moping. I shall just give you letters of introduction to all the people I know there.

Ironically, Mr. Nuttel would have been better off by himself.

The chief example of situational irony is Vera's elaborate fiction about her aunt's "great tragedy." Our expectation is that people tell the truth and, moreover, don't behave maliciously, especially with a person who is vulnerable. The seemingly kind Vera shows she is anything but sweet and helpful to Mr. Nuttel by telling him a false story that drives him away. The irony is that Mr. Nuttel takes her at face value. It doesn't occur to him that she might want to be rid of him or harm him.

Dramatic irony occurs when the reader knows something that a character or characters in a story do not. In this case, the reader has learned what Mrs. Sappleton has not: that Vera is a liar. Therefore, Mrs. Sappleton seemingly accepts Vera's fantastic explanation of Mr. Nuttel's sudden departure:

he told me he had a horror of dogs. He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him.

Verbal irony occurs when an utterance means the opposite of its surface meaning. This occurs in the last sentence, when the narrator drily observes that

Romance at short notice was her [Vera's] specialty.

Horror and cold-blooded malice are actually her specialties, even if she might believe otherwise.

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Generally speaking, there are three main forms of irony: situational irony, verbal irony, and dramatic irony. I would say that "The Open Window" contains both situational and dramatic irony.

Situational irony always involves a tension between one's expectations for a given sequence of events and the outcomes that result from it. We see, in "The Open Window," a very interesting form of situational irony which ultimately plays on the expectations of its readers. Once Vera has told Framton Nuttel about the tragedy of her aunt, Saki's story has many of the trappings of a Gothic ghost story. This effect becomes even stronger when the men return from their hunting trip and step through the open window. However, when you come to the story's end, these earlier expectations are swiftly dashed with the revelation that Vera has made this entire story up.

In addition, there is an element of dramatic irony as well when the topic of Mr. Nuttel comes up in conversation. Vera spins another story, stating that Nuttel fled on account of his fear of dogs. Dramatic irony is created when the audience is aware of key information that characters within the story are unaware of. In this case, readers would know this account to be another fabrication.

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There is a truly delicious irony in Vera's name. Vera is the Latin word for truth, and yet this mischievous young lady has shown herself constitutionally incapable of telling the truth. A chronic teller of tall-tales whose name is truth is ironic indeed. This is an example of verbal irony.

Vera also provides us with an example of dramatic irony when she spins her tale about Framton Nuttel being afraid of dogs. We know full well this isn't true, but her family seems utterly convinced.

And there's also an example of situational irony when Mr. Sappleton and his brothers return home from their hunting expedition, alive and well. This is not what we'd been led to expect would happen. After all, we as readers have been fooled by Vera's tall story as much as poor old Framton.

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One example of irony in "The Open Window" by Saki is situational irony. That is, an event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the character named Framton Nuttel.

Framton Nuttel arrives in the countryside at the Sappletons' home where he is going to rest and relax, so his nervous condition will be improved. As he waits with his papers of introduction, Nuttel is told that Mrs. Sappleton will be down from the second floor soon. In the meantime, her niece, "a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen" whose name is Vera, has come down to converse with Nuttel as he waits.

Nuttel had expected Mrs. Sappleton to speak with him, but he is subjected to the mischief of Vera, who weaves a tale of truth and fiction that terrifies him so much that "in a chill shock of nameless fear" he flees the house and nearly runs into a cyclist coming along the road. Ironically, then, an unexpected situation occurs, and Nuttel's nervous condition is made worse, rather than better, by his visit to the Sappletons.

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One example of irony comes right at the end of the story.  Framton Nuttel has run out of the house, terrified by what he thinks are ghost people and a ghost dog.  The audience may expect that Vera would "come clean" and tell her aunt and other relatives that she had told Framton a story and scared him away.  However, contrary to the audience's belief, she tells yet another story about how Framton has a fear of dogs after being trapped in a grave with snarling dogs around him all night.

This is situational irony because the irony is only caused by the situation the characters are in.

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