illustration of a young girl looking out a window at ghostly figures

The Open Window

by Saki

Start Free Trial

Are Mrs. Sappleton's husband and brothers alive in Saki's "The Open Window"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The short answer to your question is yes. In the story, Vera tells Framton a fabricated story about Mrs. Sappleton's husband and brothers in order to amuse herself. The author tells us that 'Romance at short notice was her specialty.' This just means that Vera enjoys making up imaginative, intense stories as an impromptu amusement.

According to Vera's gothic story, Mrs. Sappleton's husband and her two brothers were lost 'three years ago to a day' while making their way to their favorite hunting spot. She mysteriously hints that they must have been 'engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog' since their bodies were never found. Vera's sly suggestions leave open the possibility of the three men appearing through the French windows on some quiet evening; the thought, however, thoroughly discomposes Framton.

When the three men do appear after a short period of time, Framton is convinced that he is seeing ghosts. To Vera's private amusement, their guest beats a hasty retreat out of the house. In the story, we are provided some indications that the three men are still alive:

1)Framton describes an 'undefinable something' that suggests 'masculine habitation' in the room he is in.

2)The author acquaints us with Framton's nervous temperament from the beginning of the story. He is characterized as a hypochondriac of sorts who believes that he needs utmost peace and quiet in order to recover from his myriad ailments.

3)The author characterizes Vera as a mischievous young lady who is not above having a bit of fun at her guest's expense. Besides reducing the impressionable Framton to a nervous wreck, Vera also fabricates a fantastic story about his hasty retreat.

We may safely infer from the above that the men have always been alive and that they were never lost in some treacherous bog.

Hope this helps!

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial