Please comment on the description of Vera given in the opening sentence of "The Open Window."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Especially in short stories, the way that characters are developed and introduced is key in the way that their attributes and personality are presented. In this short story, we can see in retrospect that the way in which the character of Vera is introduced in the first sentence clearly foreshadows her deception of poor Framton Nuttel. Let us consider how the story opens:

"My aunt will be down presently, Mr. Nuttel," said a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen; "in the meantime you must try and put up with me."

The key words to focus on here are of course the description of Vera as a "very self-possessed young lady of fifteen." This of course points to Vera's tremendous confidence and the way that, even though she is only 15, she is so sure of herself and her abilities. She demonstrates this confidence through quickly assessing how much Framton Nuttel knows about her aunt's family and then quickly weaving a tale deliberately designed to trick him for her own amusement. As the end of the story tells us, "Romance at short notice was her speciality." The opening sentence therefore plays a key role in presenting us with the character of Vera and her astonishing quick intelligence and massive confidence.

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