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The Open Window

by Saki

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How are Mr. Nuttel and Vera similar in "The Open Window"?

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In "The Open Window," Vera and Mr. Nuttel are similar in being self-absorbed people who don't think deeply about the effects of their behavior on others. Vera tells malicious lies for her own pleasure, and Mr. Nuttel bores everyone around him by going on and on about his illness.

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Framton Nuttel and Vera are alike in that they are both self-absorbed people who don't take much time to consider how their behavior affects other people. Framton needs to go to the country as a cure for his nerves, and his sister arranges for him to visit acquaintances of hers whom he has never met.

Mr. Nuttel seems to be a boring person who likes to go on and on endlessly about his illness. He is described as, like many people, one who

laboured under the tolerably widespread delusion that total strangers and chance acquaintances are hungry for the least detail of one's ailments and infirmities, their cause and cure.

Mrs. Sappleton yawns openly when he begins talking about his illness, which is rude, but she is apparently tired of hearing about it. It never occurs to Mr. Nuttel that people who have never met him before might not be as intensely interested in his nervous disorder (what we today might classify as some form of anxiety) as he is. For him, it is natural to talk about this subject, which is central to his life.

Vera, likewise, enjoys telling fanciful lies. She clearly, too, would like to get rid of this tiresome houseguest. When she tells Framton the story that causes him to bolt and flee, it does not seem to occur to her fifteen-year-old mind that her story might contribute to worsening Mr. Nuttel's illness. Or, alternatively, being Vera, she might maliciously want to worsen it (meaning she isn't thinking deeply about how much trouble this could cause). In either case, she reveals an insensitivity to other people and their needs that is similar to Mr. Nuttel's. Both are alike, too, in having excuses: Vera is only in her teens, a period known for self-absorption, while Mr. Nuttel is mentally unwell at the moment, and so he is possibly not thinking straight.

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