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" 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.
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.
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.
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).