The Open Window Questions and Answers
by Saki

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The Open Window Plot Diagram

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

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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 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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