The Open Window Plot Diagram

What is the plot of "The Open Window"? What are the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion?

The plot of "The Open Window" will include its exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion. The climax of the story occurs when Framton spies three men whom Vera has told him are dead, crossing the lawn and approaching the open window. The story's rising action relies on Vera's stories regarding their supposed deaths to deliver the full horror that this inflicts upon the socially reserved Framton.

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Although "The Open Window" is a very brief short story, it demonstrates the five elements of plot as it tells a humorous tale about human gullibility.

The exposition or background to the plot is as follows: Mr. Nuttel is staying in the country to help cure his nervous (psychological) disorder. The Sappletons, with whom he is staying, are a family he has never met before, so he knows very little about them. We also learn he is a boring man who goes on and on about his illness.

In the rising action, teenaged Vera tells Mr. Nuttel a dramatic story of her three male relatives being tragically lost while hunting. She says Mrs. Sappleton has not accepted their deaths and keeps the window (French door) open in the belief that they will return.

In the climax, Mr. Nuttel sees the men returning from the hunt just as Vera described them as looking when they disappeared. He is sure they are ghosts and runs off.

In the falling action, Vera and her aunt and uncle wonder happened to make Mr. Nuttel race away in such a strange manner.

In the conclusion, Vera makes up another extraordinary tale to explain his disappearance. The Sappletons (whose last name may play on "sap," a word for a gullible person) fall for it completely, showing how people tend to believe what they are told.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 16, 2020
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An exposition typically includes the setting and context of the plot. This story begins with an in media res approach, opening with dialogue as Framton Nuttel awaits an introduction to Mrs. Sappleton. The general context is that Framton, a socially reserved man, has been sent by his sister to visit with a few people in this town so that he will not be so lonely during his time there. He is not looking forward to these introductions.

The rising action of a story will include all major plot points up until the story's climax. Mrs. Sappleton's niece, Vera, entertains Framton by telling him about her aunt's fairly recent tragedy. According to Vera, Mrs. Sappleton sent her husband and young brothers off on a hunting expedition three years earlier, and they never returned. The men supposedly died in a bog, and their bodies were never recovered. Vera claims that her aunt still awaits their return, and she is convinced that one day they will return through the same open window they originally left from, singing a song.

Mrs. Sappleton then bustles into the room and begins amiable conversation.

The highest point of action in a plot is its climax. In this story, that occurs when Mrs. Sappleton turns to the open window and says,

Here they are at last! Just in time for tea, and don't they look as if they were muddy up to the eyes!

Framton is horrified to find that, indeed, three figures are crossing the lawn toward the open window.

Framton is frantic in his efforts to escape from this scene, which is the falling action.

The story concludes with the realization that Vera has generated a false story about her aunt's husband and brothers, who are all very much alive, to entertain herself at Framton's expense. Her aunt is none the wiser; Vera claims that Framton had noted his own "horror of dogs" in their conversation, and the little brown spaniel which accompanied the men must have been Framton's undoing.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 9, 2020
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"The Open Window" by Saki is a short story about a dual-layered practical joke a young woman (Vera) plays on an unsuspecting visitor. The plot points can be broken up according to the plot triangle as follows:

Exposition: A man named Framton Nuttel is visiting the Sappletons. He must wait for Mrs. Sappleton, so 15-year old Vera keeps him company.

"'My aunt will be down presently, Mr. [Framton] Nuttel,' said a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen, 'in the meantime you must try and put up with me.'"

Rising Action: Vera explains the tragedy, and tells Framton that they keep the window open in memory of Mr. Sappleton. After talking with Vera for a while, Nuttel is introduced to Mrs. Sappleton. Mrs. Sappleton talks on about her husband and brothers, who Vera has just explained are dead. Framton believes Mrs. Sappleton is insane, and tries to avoid the subject of the husband.

"She rattled on cheerfully about the shooting and scarcity of birds...to Framton it was all purely horrible."

Climax: As the sun begins setting, three figures walk across the lawn and can be seen from the window.

"In the deepening twilight three figures were walking across the lawn towards the window, they all carried guns under their arms."

Falling Action: Framton, frightened upon realizing the figures are the ghosts of the Sappletons, grabs his things and leaves the house to escape the assumed ghosts.

"Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat; the hall door, the gravel dive, and the front gate were dimly noted stages in his headlong retreat."

'A most extraordinary man, Mr. Nuttel,' said Mrs. Sappleton...'One would think he had seen a ghost.'"

Resolution: The family thinks Framton is crazy because he ran away, and it is revealed that the Sappleton "ghosts" are just figments of Vera's "romance at short notice" (skill at telling stories).

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