Literary Analysis Essay on The Open Window by Saki

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and most importantly statements from the author. To support the character development Saki utilizes foreshadowing and a well developed observation of the setting of the work. All three devices blend together with others to allow the reader a full picture of the events, as they unfolded to create the haste that is seen in the conclusion, when the nervous Mr. Nuttel flees the scene and the self-possessed and mischievously bored Niece continues to spin her tale of short notice romance.

The character development of both Nuttel the protagonist and the Niece the antagonist is skilled as the narration describes Nuttel as a man in need of the "nerve cure...? who comes across as in dire need of mental and physical rest in the rural setting. The work describes how he appears to the Niece as an innocent, and ignorant man, who is reluctant to participate in his sister's formal social plan to meet and interact with the "quite nice...? inhabitants of the "rural retreat....? The work allows the reader to visualize a socially nervous man who basically walks right in to the trap of the mischievous antagonist, with no doubt in view. The first clue regarding the niece, as to her mischievous pastime of the spinning of "romantic...? (morbid) tales is that even Nuttel observes she is the "niece of the moment...? which makes it clear that she is a visitor, not unlike himself but one who is young and proper and likely relatively bored by the setting. Saki is skilled in letting the reader imagine that she is a young woman of the period (supported by setting) that is at leisure in an upper class home and likely looking for something to occupy her mind. She is also described by the author and the impressions of Nuttel as a young lady who is a skilled actor. She describes the fictitious "tragedy...? as if it were utterly real, develops her Aunt as a sadly crazy woman with earnest and therefore the expectation of the set up for Nuttel obviously comes to fruition. The Aunt does enter the room and ramble on about the fact that the window (French door) is open for the return of the three figures that the niece has just explained to be dead in a tragic accident of the weather and Nuttel does not guess that the aunt is simply and obviously really waiting for her husband and two young brothers to return from a hunting jaunt they had left for only that day.

The skill of Saki to utilize subtle foreshadowing is also evident as the niece reasonably develops the scenario of a fictitious tragedy, the death of the three men (and the dog) exactly a year before, which coincides to a year after the man's sister had been in residence nearby. The niece begins by ascertaining that Nuttel knows nothing of the people or place and that he would be easy to fool, foreshadowing that she is playing a trick on him. She then determines that the "tragic...? events took place after the sister left and proceeds to describe exactly how the three figures and the dog looked when they left just that morning, with the supposition that they would return looking just the same.

Nuttel's shock, fear and outwardly rude reaction to seeing the three figures, with their dog come across the lawn is the climax of the work. The Niece has made a fool of him by spinning her story and by appearing shocked and horrified when the party returns, her acting skill at work. The remaining party assumes she is shocked by Nuttel's strange behavior and Nuttel by the return of the dead. The antagonist resolves the climax for those who are still present, by spinning a story about Nuttel that has him afraid of dogs because of an equally "romantic...? morbid occurrence that the rest of the party seems to believe as well. The work then comes full circle as Nuttel dashes off even before being introduced to the new arrivals, "like he had seen a ghost,...? and the remaining party has a nice fantastic explanation offered again from the antagonist and a curious first impression of Nuttel.

Ultimately, the short story is well developed as the characterization, foreshadowing and climax devices build the situation as if it is plausible. The characters are well developed as protagonist (Nuttel) and antagonist (Niece) and each is given a reasonable and believable role in the work. The foreshadowing, including the ignorance of Nuttel, ascertained by the niece and the author in a tale tell way is subtle but present and the climax of the work, when the niece can support her shocked appearance by Nuttel's reaction to seeing the dead is well timed and interesting. Overall the story is predictable but very amusing.

Works Cited

Saki, The Open Window. at:[continue]

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