What is the problem in "The Open Window"? I only want the problem, not the climax.

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main problem in "The Open Window" is that Framton Nuttel seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The other characters--Vera, Mrs. Sappleton, and the three male hunters--do not have any obvious problems at all. So the problem has to be Framton Nuttel's. He explains it to Mrs. Sappleton when she comes down.

"The doctors agree in ordering me complete rest, an absence of mental excitement, and avoidance of anything in the nature of violent physical exercise," announced Framton, who laboured under the tolerably widespread delusion that total strangers and chance acquaintances are hungry for the least detail of one's ailments and infirmities, their cause and cure. "On the matter of diet they are not so much in agreement," he continued.

In order to try to solve his problem, Framton has come from London to the English countryside in accordance with the advice of his doctors. Framton might have found a quiet place where he could have lived by himself, but his sister, who recommended this part of the country, insists on his meeting a few of the local residents.

"I know how it will be," his sister had said when he was preparing to migrate to this rural retreat; "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. Some of them, as far as I can remember, were quite nice."

Framton might have been better off living in complete seclusion. But evidently he thinks it couldn't hurt to have tea with some of the simple country folk and spend a hour or so engaged in polite conversation. He doesn't realize that he is walking into a nuthouse. These people are not simple country folk but rather zany. Vera is only fifteen years old but has a wild imagination and a mischievous spirit. Her aunt is rattlebrained. The three hunters think about nothing but killing birds, and one of them keeps singing the crazy phrase: "I said, Bertie, why do you bound?"

Framton's problem is never solved. His meeting with Vera and her aunt, and his encounter with three "ghosts," only make his problem worse. He will be afraid to use any more of his sister's letters of introduction. He may decide to return to London immediately. No doubt he was already paranoid before the incident described in the story; but he will be considerably more paranoid in the future.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Readers could find many problems which exist in The Open Window (depending upon Reader-Response). One problem which I find most evident is that of trust.

Frampton goes to stay with Mrs. Sappleton based upon a suggestion by his sister. Frampton is suffering from an undisclosed condition (nrevous) and needs to find a place where he can rest and calm his nerves. Given that letters came from his sister, he assumes that he can trust those who he contacts.

The trust which Frampton places in Vera is, most assuredly, misplaced. He sees a very young girl who he would have no problem thinking would not intentionally deceive him. Unfortunately for Frampton, this is exactly what Vera does.

Therefore, the problem in the story is that of misplaced trust.

zahraa27 | Student

i think that the proplem is the mind of mr.nuttel i dont think is that he was that smart to believe in the story of a littel girl 

vera was 15 years old but she was very smart girl i think if someone tell me that story i want believe it so how is grown man like mr.Nuttel buy it.

the other proplem is that if he was sick in 1910 and rich family they wont just leave him alone in the middel of no where but there will be doctors and maid with him so this is other problem in the story