Tobermory Voice to the Voiceless: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Saki’s Time

There were many social movements occurring when Saki wrote “Tobermory” in the early twentieth century. Some scholars claim that Tobermory gaining voice is similar to the many marginalized groups who were gaining voice and agency at the time that Saki wrote this short story. Among those fighting for justice were the suffragettes, a group of women who were fighting for the right to vote.

Women in the U.K. did not gain full suffrage until 1918, but they began calling unequivocally for suffrage by 1906 (Myers). Millicent Garrett Fawcett led the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) and fought for women’s right to vote through such means as petitions and speaking before Parliament (Myers). The Women’s Social and Political Union was another group of women, who established the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and used tactics that many believed to be more violent and confrontational (Myers). Indeed, members of WSPU, not NUWSS, were the first to be arrested in support of women’s suffrage (Myers).