What is the overall theme of "The Background" by Saki?

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morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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As I read it, the story "The Background" by H.H. Munro (Saki) is about the place of art as a unifier and a divider. The protagonist has a deep connection to great works of art. He believes that he owns an arm of the Venus De Milo. However, while he views art as the great unifier, he watches nations quarrel over the ownership of it. In the end, he is disenchanted and defeated, and the reader is left to wonder, who does art belong to?.

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