The Lumber Room by Saki

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What is the significance of the gooseberry garden in Saki's story "The Lumber Room"?

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Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The significance of the gooseberry garden in Saki's short story “The Lumber Room” is in what that garden represents. Nicholas, an apparently precocious child prone to some degree of mischievous behavior, is being raised by a distant relative, specifically, his cousins’ aunt who fancies herself Nicholas’s aunt as well. The story begins with one of Nicholas’s pranks—he places a frog from the garden in his bowl of milk and bread—leading to his aunt’s condemnation of his behavior. His penalty, Saki’s narrator states, will be his inability to accompany his cousins and his younger brother on a hastily arranged trip to the beach. The narrator explains how this form of punishment fits into the aunt’s pattern of conjuring playful outings and other treats to wield leverage over whichever child had sinned:

“It was her habit, whenever one of the children fell from grace, to improvise something of a festival nature from which the offender would be rigorously debarred; if all the...

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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