The Absurdity of Etiquette
“The Open Window”—Saki’s tale of the anxious Framton Nuttel’s ill-fated encounter with the precocious young storyteller Vera in the English countryside—is, ultimately, a satire of excessive decorum. Saki wrote the story during the Edwardian Era (1901-1914), when British social mores were beginning to loosen. In the story, Saki positions the excessive social graces of the previous period as shallow and arbitrary, but also as actions that, ironically, allow for rudeness and deception.
In “The…read analysis of The Absurdity of Etiquette
Fiction and Perspective
“The Open Window” uses its story-within-a-story structure to explore the interplay of truth and imagination. Whether viewed as a cruel prank or an enjoyable practical joke, the stories that Vera makes up in “The Open Window” control the perspectives of everyone around her.
Saki mines comedy from contradicting perspectives, as Vera’s story results in a farcical disconnect between Mr. Nuttel’s experience of the world and Mrs. Sappleton’s. Based on Vera’s story, Mr. Nuttel…read analysis of Fiction and Perspective
Innocence and Guile
Saki subverts expectations of naiveté, as the young, too-easily-dismissed Vera handily manipulates the adults around her. In “The Open Window,” age does not necessarily confer wisdom, and a childish demeanor can mask audacious cunning.
In the opening line of the story, Mr. Nuttel immediately observes that Vera is a “very self-possessed young lady,” yet nevertheless fails to detect her prank. This is in large part because, in keeping with her self-possession, Vera knows how to…read analysis of Innocence and Guile