Instant Resources for Tobermory 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 Tobermory 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
“Tobermory,” Saki’s delightful story about a mischievous cat, was first published in 1909 in The Westminster Gazette. In 1911, Saki included it in his collection The Chronicles of Clovis.
As do many of Saki’s best-known works, “Tobermory” offers a satirical comment on the pretension and hypocrisy of Edwardian society. The story provides an excellent example of Saki’s simple yet elegant style and his sarcastic wit. Throughout the body of Saki’s Chronicles, Clovis is portrayed as both bitter and malicious. The comment he makes at the end of “Tobermory” is an example of the bite of Clovis’s tongue and his aptness to utter inappropriate comments.
Saki rewrote the original story to include Clovis, who was missing from the version published in 1909. Because he included “Tobermory” in his short story collection, it is likely that Saki intended to suggest that the cat, too, is somewhat more than merely mischievous in the revelations he makes about the people at the weekend party.
As is often the case with satire, the biting humor is the point. If we need to look for a theme, that theme is probably to be found in the traits or customs being satirized. Saki, however, adds another level of criticism to his satire. As we, the readers, chuckle at the characters’ embarrassment and at the deaths of both the cat and its teacher, we also must step back and admit our own brutality—that we take pleasure in other people’s harm.
Don’t overthink this story—Saki surely wanted readers to enjoy it and accept the premise of science gone awry. Tobermory, the talking, intelligent, gossipy cat, ends up dead, but not before he has revealed the self-important guests as nothing more than petty, amoral backbiters.