Focus on general aspcts of the story * Author Hector Hugh Munro, who wrote under the pen-name Saki, was born on 18th December 1870 in Burma. Munro is best know for his witty, sometimes whimsical, often cynical and bizarre sentence. Some of his collections of short stories are Reginald (1904), The Chronicles of Clovis (1911), Beasts and Super-Beasts (1914), among others. His two novels are The Unbearable Bassignton (1912) and When William Came (1914). Munro was killed in the trenches of France in World War I in 1916. Subject-Main Topic The Open Window is about a fifteen-year-old girl called Vera, who enjoyed inventing stories and telling them to the people around her. * Setting The story takes place in a house situated on a farm, in October (the city or country where the action develops is not specified). * Characters Main characters: Vera and Mr. Framton Nuttel. Vera was a self-possesed lady of fifteen and a big liar. Mr Nuttel, a polite gentleman, was temporarily in the countryside to recover from a nervous breakdown.
Secondary characters: Mrs Sappleton (Vera’s aunt), Ronnie (Mrs Sappleton’s youngest brother), Bertie and Mr Sappleton. 2. Focus on the reconstruction of the storyline * Summary The Open Window is about a fifteen-year-old girl, Vera, who used to tell lies and invent stories. One day Mr Framton Nuttel, who suffered from stress, moved to the countryside to relax. His sister, who had been living there for some time, had given him some letters of introduction so that he could visit some people.
When he went to the Sappletons’ house, he was welcomed by Vera, who told him that her aunt, Mrs Sappleton, would arrive pretty soon. While they waited in the living-room, Framton noticed that there was a big window open on ac October afternoon. Vera explained that a tragedy had struck her aunt: three years before her two brothers, her husband and a spaniel had gone hunting and they had never returned. This was the reason why the woman kept the window open, as she was still waiting for them to return home.
After a while, Mrs Sappleton arrived and apologized to Framton for the open window. She told him that she was expecting her husband and brothers to arrive at any minute. Later on, to Framton’s horror, they saw three men and a dog walking across the lawn towards the house. The terrified man left the place at once. When the hunters entered the house they asked who the man that had left was. The lady explained that he was an extraordinary man who could only talk about his illness and that he had left without saying goodbye.
Vera added that he had run away because he panicked when he saw the spaniel, as he had once had a really scary experience with fierce dogs in a cementery. 3. Focus on Main issues Appearances and Reality It is no surprise that Mrs. Sappleton’s niece tells a story that is easy to believe. She begins with an object in plain view, an open window, and proceeds from there. The window is obviously open, but for the reasons for its being open the reader is completely at the mercy of Mrs. Sappleton’s niece, at least while she tells her story.
The open window becomes a symbol within this story-within-a-story, and its appearance becomes its reality. When Mr. Nuttel (and the reader) are presented with a contrary reality at the end of the story, the result is a tension between appearance and reality that needs to be resolved: Which is real? Can they both be real? Deception Were it not for deception, this story could not happen. The action and irony of the story revolve around the apparent deception that Mrs. Sappleton’s niece practices. It remains to be seen, however, whether this deception is a harmless prank or the result of a sinister disposition.
If the niece’s deception is cruel, then the reader must question the motives behind the deception practiced by all tellers of stories, including Saki himself. Sanity and Insanity “The Open Window” shows just how fine the line can be between sanity and insanity. Mr. Nuttel’s susceptibility to deceit is no different from that of the reader of the story. Yet Mr. Nuttel is insane, and the reader, presumably, is not. In order to maintain this distinction, Saki forces his reader to consider the nature of insanity and its causes. 4.
Focus on the evaluation of the story * Evaluative Coments The story deals with a topic that is very common in teenagers’ behavior today: telling lies. There is neither an explicit nor an implicit message. I think that the author is trying to show how inventive, creative and imaginative teenagers are and how much they love to make fun of adults. On a more serious tone, we can say that there is nothing wrong with telling a white lie every now and then, but if this behavior becomes addictive, it is necessary to look for the causes and start treatment.
Despite the fact that The Open Window is a rather short story, it was a bit difficult to understand the first time we read it. The language is, in general, up-dated though there are some old-fashioned words (e. g. menfolk), probably due to the fact that the author lived almost a hundred years ago. As to the content, I really enjoyed the story because it reminded me of some acquaintances who are compulsive liars. As they lie so often, it is hard for me to trust then and to become their friends. We really felt sorry for Mr Nuttel because he left the house without knowing the truth.
After this experience he might have certainly had another nervous breakdown. To conclude, I would recommend The Open Window to people of all ages, but in particular to those who have a tendency to lie –so that they can drop the habit for a while – and to those who have become victims of compulsive liars. 5. Focus on language use: Vocabulary and idiomatic expressions * SEMANTIC FIELDS OR WORD DOMAINS WAYS OF ENTERING A PLACE TO COME BACK: TO RETURN TO A PARTICULAR PLACE TO WALK IN: TO ENTER A BUILDING OR ROOM, ESPECIALLY UNEXPECTEDLY OR WITHOUT BEING INVITED.
TO COME IN: TO ENTER A ROOM OR A BUILDING; TO PASS THROUGH SOMETHING, SUCH AS A HOLE, A WINDOW, ETC. TO NEAR: TO COME CLOSER TO A PARTICULAR PLACE, TIME OR STATE; TO APPROACH. TO COME ALONG: TO ARRIVE OR APPEAR SOMEWHERE. WAYS OF LEAVING A PLACE TO GO OFF: TO LEAVE A PLACE IN ORDER TO DO SOMETHING TO GO OUT: TO LEAVE A ROOM, BUILDING, ETC. TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE TO GO TO SOCIAL EVENTS, ETC. TO STRAY: TO LEAVE A PLACE WHERE YOU SHOULD BE. TO DASH OFF: TO LEAVE A PLACE VERY QUICKLY, IN A HURRY. OTHER VERBS TO SWING ROUND: TO COME UP WITH TO WALK ACROSS TO BOLT TO BUSTLE