Who comes out of the opened door-the lady,or the tiger?"The Lady,or the Tiger?"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is very question that Frank Stockton, the author, proposes to the readers: 

Now, the point of the story is this:  Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady?

Stockton directs the reader to consider analyses of characters before writing the denouement to his plot of "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

a study of the human heart which leads us through roundabout pathways of passion, of of which it is difficult to find our way.

As Stockton states, the question depends upon the nature of the princess: 

  • She is the daughter of a semibarbaric king, who has his "most florid fancies, and...a soul as fervent and imperious as his own."   
  • She loves the young man "with an ardor that had enough of barabarism in it tomake it exceedingly warm and strong.

On the other hand, the reader must also consider that

  • She possesses "a white heat beneath the combined fires of despair and jealousy." 
  • She has observed her young man talking with a beautiful girl who has thrown glaces of admiration upon him--or so the princess has imagined.
  • The princess sits pointing to a door; she sits there "paler and whiter than anyone in the vast ocean of anxious faces about her. 
  • The young man realizes that she knows who is behind which door, and he "understands her nature."

With these considerations, the reader is to make the decision.

Based upon your decision, and that the story is written in the style of a tradition fairy tale, but one that has a jarring stop to it, use the appropriate details and style in order to support your response.  Have fun with this brain-teaser.

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