The Open Window

433 Words2 Pages
Symbolism The most important symbol in “The Open Window” is the open window itself. When Mrs. Sappleton’s niece tells Mr. Nuttel the story of the lost hunters, the open window comes to symbolize Mrs. Sappleton’s anguish an0d heartbreak at the loss of her husband and younger brother. When the truth is later revealed, the open window no longer symbolizes anguish but the very deceit itself. Saki uses the symbol ironically by having the open window, an object one might expect would imply honesty, as a symbol of deceit. Themes Though it is a remarkably short piece of fiction, “The Open Window” explores a number of important themes. Mr. Nuttel comes to the country in an attempt to cure his nervous condition. He pays a visit to the home of Mrs. Sappleton in order to introduce himself, and before he gets to meet the matron of tha house, he is intercepted by her niece, who regales him with an artful piece of fiction that, in the end, only makes his nervous condition worse. 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
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