Sredni Vashtar

by

Saki

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Themes and Colors
Imagination vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
British Colonialism Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Sredni Vashtar, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Imagination vs. Reality

At the heart of Saki’s “Sredni Vashtar” is a lonely young boy named Conradin, who escapes from a real world that he hates by imagining that the polecat-ferret that he keeps in a cage in an abandoned toolshed is actually a pagan god named Sredni Vashtar. This violent, impatient god that Conradin invents is the polar opposite of Conradin’s older cousin and guardian, Mrs. De Ropp, who is very religious in a…

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Religion

There are two opposing forces in Saki’s “Sredni Vashtar”: the traditional, “respectable” Christian religion embodied by the prim and controlling Mrs. De Ropp and the wild, “pagan” religion embodied by the ferret-polecat Sredni Vashtar (who, in the lonely imagination of Mrs. De Ropp’s young cousin and ward, Conradin, is a god). Like the Judeo-Christian God, Mrs. De Ropp is seemingly omnipotent, always able to see and judge what Conradin is doing in the garden…

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British Colonialism

Born to British parents in Burma (which was at the time a British colony) and working there as an adult for a few years in the Imperial Police, Saki saw firsthand what the outer reaches of the British Empire looked like, and he brought this awareness to “Sredni Vashtar.” The title character of the story, Sredni Vashtar, is a ferret whom the story’s main character, a lonely boy named Conradin, has come to imagine…

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