“‘Here they are at last!' she cried. ‘Just in time for tea, and don’t they look as if they were muddy up to the eyes!’" (227)
The imagery of figures covered up to their eyes in mud reinforces the story Vera tells about the men suffocating in a muddy bog. Before Framton turns to see the men the reader first hears the aunt’s observation of their approach. In order to maintain the trick until the very end, Saki employs imagery that contributes to an eerie, almost zombie-like vision of muddied bodies approaching so as not to give away the truth.
"Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat; the hall-door, the gavel-drive, and the front gate were dimly noted stages in a headlong retreat” (227)
Saki describes Framton’s escape using the imagery of the house as landmarks in his exit. If the open window symbolizes imagination then the door, the drive, and the front gate all mark retreats from that possible world.
“He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him” (227)
Saki’s stories frequently contain images of animals attacking humans which some attribute to the fact that his mother’s death resulted from a wild cow. Saki uses imagery to present the animals as mere extensions of Vera’s trickery. Their “grins” match Vera’s amusement at Framton’s gullibility. However, the animals are also seen “foaming” at the mouth and “snarling,” taking almost a sadistic pleasure in his fear. Similarly, Vera’s use of such a tragic story to play her trick on Framton also has sinister undertones and embodies a kind of dark humor not often associated with childhood.
The Open Window Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Open Window is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Mr. Nuttel is shocked and panics when he sees the men. The reader understands that Vera's story is fiction but Mr. Nuttel takes it to heart. The comedy comes from Mr. Nuttel's overreaction to the men returning.