The Open Window by Saki

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The Open Window Theme

What is the theme in "The Open Window" by Saki?

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carol-davis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Open Window” by Saki presents a man in need of a cure for his nerves.  Mr. Nuttel comes to the wrong house. He is there to meet a friend, Mrs. Sappleton, of his sister. While he is waiting on Mrs. Sappleton, he is intercepted by a creative niece who scares the man nearly to death.  If his nerves were bad before, they will not have improved after this visit.


Reality versus appearance

Thematically, the story speaks first to the difference between reality and appearance.  The fifteen year old niece likes to create stories.  In this situation, she uses one real object, the open window, to draw in her victim.  To Mr. Nuttel, it is open because it is a hot day.

The story becomes a story within a story.  When the niece tells the fantastic story of the disappearance of three men and a dog, she makes the story sound so possible. The window becomes symbolic.  It represents the possibility that the men just might walk in after being lost for three years. This is the appearance of truth

Mrs. Sappleton comes in and begins to talk about reality. She has no idea that her niece had told Mr. Nuttel a story about the window.   Her husband is gone hunting with her brothers and will be back soon.  She discusses hunting and other associated things. Again, the open window is mentioned.  This is the reality of the story

In Mr. Nuttel’s mind, he believes the niece’s story; he thinks Mrs. Sappleton is awful and probably crazy because she expects her lost husband to come walking in on this particular day.

When she sees her husband actually returning from hunting with her brothers, Mr. Nuttel at first does not believe it.  Then, he looks out and sees three men coming. This was close enough for him.  He heads out the door never to return to the Sappleton's home.

A most extraordinary man, a Mr. Nuttel,’ said Mrs. Sappleton, could only talk about his illnesses and dashed off without a word of goodbye or apology when you arrived. One would think he had seen a ghost.”

This, of course, is dramatic irony since that is what Mr. Nuttel thought he had seen.

With the men coming in the...

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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isuwi | Student

Appearance and Reality : Vera seems to be a very sweet girl where as to why framton makes sure that he says the right things and act the right way. But Vera is a very mischievous girl who makes up stories, so well ,that even her own aunt falls for them. the reader also believes Vera to an extent.

Deception : Vera deceives Framton Nuttel with her story of her aunt's brothers being lost in the marsh and never returning. and she also deceives her aunt by giving a reason as to why Nuttel rushed out of the house after seeing the three men.

Sanity and Insanity : this short story measures the sanity and insanity of all the characters. Framton nuttel is insane to believe Vera without being more observant. He thinks that Mrs.Sappleton is insane but he is insane for real. since we see the story through the point of view of Nuttel,our sanity is also being measured and we feel insane to believe Vera to an extent as well. 

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justaquestion | Student

Reality versus Imagination.

Don't believe what you hear but elieve what you see.

Jokes are not always funny.


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odile | Student

don't believe everything you hear

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