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

The Open Window

by Saki

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Topics for Discussion

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1. What makes Vera's fabricated story so convincing: the listener's gullibility, her detailed description of the hunters, her nonchalant presentation, or her blatant subversion of the social code in lying to an adult?

2. Has being in the country provided Mr. Nuttel with a respite from his nervous condition? What does this tell the reader about the nature of his ailment?

3. Identify other adolescent characters in literature, film, or television who deceive or outsmart their elders.

4. Formulate a theory about why Vera deceives Nuttel. Is she malicious? Bored? Both?

5. What different things does the open window in the story symbolize to the characters? Give some other examples of symbols that have different meanings to different people.

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