What are some of the literary/figurative devices used in "The Open Window"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Additionally, most of the narrative, the framed story, is in the form of a tall-tale.  That is, it is a fabricated narrative that describes people and events in an exaggerated form.  Vera uses the husband of Mrs. Stappleton and her brothers, who are real, but creates a fantastical story around them.  She exaggerates the importance of the open window by making it the passage to a tale of tragic loss.

Another literary device employed is connotation.  The use of the open window with which to frame the tall-tale deludes the listener, Framton Nuttel, into believing the story because the openness of the window itself connotes lack of deception and candor.  Of course, Vera's name also connotes honesty and candor as it is a derivative of the Latin word for truth, veritas.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One literary device used in the story is symbolism. The open window symbolizes, we think at first, the disappearance of the men and their longed-for return.

Another device is called the frame narrative, or story within a story. The framing story is Mr. Nuttel's visit to the Sappletons. The story set within that frame is the sad tale of the missing hunters told to him by the niece.

Irony is another literary device that is well used in this story. Mr. Nuttel feels sorry for Mrs. Sappleton and thinks she is in denial of her husband's death. However, it is Nuttel who becomes the object of pity at the end of the story when he runs away in fear.