What was the author's purpose for writing the short story "The Open Window"?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The story is actually quite amusing, and it would seem that Saki's purpose in writing it was mainly to provide amusement. The girl who tells the guest the supernatural part of the story is likeable in spite of being mischievous. She is intelligent and imaginative. We can't help but like her and even understand how she would get amusement out of shaking up the stodgy atmosphere of the country estate where she is expected to lead the life of a docile, well-brought-up young lady. She is the most interesting character in the story. She manages to make something uncanny about a familiar scene in that part of the country--three men approaching the house in the twilight accompanied by a brown spaniel. Vera shows impressive visual imaginative in imagining how the appearance of these three hunters will seem ghostly to the nervous visitor. Mr. Nuttel the visitor is given the character traits he needs to be frightened out of his wits. He is extremely nervous and apprehensive to begin with. The story has no great significance. It is written for amusement, not unlike the Jeeves stories of P. G. Wodehouse. It provides a glimpse of country life among the privileged classes in England. It is so cleverely plotted that it has become a short story classic and is considered Saki's most popular work.

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