Instant Resources for The Open Window by Saki!
Whether you're looking for a short story to pair with the novel you're teaching, or you need a 2- to 3-day sub plan to use with the stories in your textbooks, Prestwick House Instant Short Story Packs go beyond basic comprehension to help students learn how to analyze literature.
Each downloadable pack addresses key skills through 5-10 standards-based analysis questions by guiding students through a series of scaffolding graphic organizers and in-class activities.
This Instant Short Story Pack for The Open Window by Saki includes:
- Scaffolding graphic organizers and in-class activities
- Standards-based objectives
- Introduction and pre-reading notes
- Complete short story text
- Rigorous analysis questions
- Detailed teacher's answer guide
About The Open Window
In many ways, "The Open Window" is more of a joke than a narrative with the typical rising action, climax, and denouement. Instead, this little piece has a set-up and a pay-off (or punchline).
It was first published in 1914 in Beasts and Super-Beasts, the last collection of short stories Saki compiled and published before his death. Because the story is primarily intended to make the reader laugh (or at least smile) at the end, many academics have trouble dealing with it. Like most good jokes, the story is character-driven with very little (if any) philosophical theme. At most, “The Open Window” gives its readers an opportunity for reflection about human nature and the contemporary society of pre-World War I England.
When you first read the story, simply go for the laugh. Don’t overthink the situation. After the first reading (after you’ve chuckled at poor Nuttel’s gullibility and shaken your head at Vera’s mischievousness), go back and consider how Saki crafted this story to perfect the effect it has. Granted, most of Saki’s stories are more fully developed and do explore ideas that might be called “themes,” but Saki’s original popularity came from his humor, his surprising twists, his technique of appearing to be going one direction and then suddenly changing course to arrive at a completely unexpected ending.
This technique is worth examining, and “The Open Window” is an excellent example to use for this examination.