The Open Window Questions and Answers
by Saki

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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...

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There is verbal irony in The Open Window by Saki, because Vera talks about a "tragedy" that had occurred; however, she knew that the "tragedy" was a lie, when Framton Nuttel believed this story to be true.

You can tell that Vera is lying because at the end of the short story, Vera mentions how Mr. Nuttel had developed a fear of dogs, so must of been afraid of the spaniel. The reader heard the only conversations between Vera and Mr. Nuttel, and it never mentioned anything about dogs...

What the names in The Open Window mean relative to the content of the story:

Mrs. Sappleton: "sap" = fool; believes anything or taken advantage if easily

Framton Nuttel: "framton" = frantic , "nut" = crazy

Vera: "ver" = veer people off in the wrong direction , "vera" = truth (so there is irony within the names as well).