“The Storyteller” by Saki, an aunt, her two nieces and one nephew are on a train in a cabin with a bachelor. The children are very hyper and loud. To try and get the children to settle down, the aunt decided to tell a story. The story is about a girl who was always good. She was perfect in every aspect of her life but one day she was in trouble and was saved by her classmates because they admired her outstanding moral character. She lived happily and was liked by everybody. But this story did not keep the children preoccupied for long because they thought the story was dull and boring.
The bachelor then steps in and says that he can tell a story that the children will love. His story starts out the same as the aunts by talking about a girl, named Bertha, who was “horribly perfect” all the time. She was rewarded with medals and she wore them on her clothes all the time. For her outstanding moral character she was invited to play in the prince’s beautiful park. While Bertha has been in the park, she was hanging out watching the little pigs run around. Then, a wolf came and was looking for something to eat. The wolf found the girl and started to chase her, ignoring the pigs.
The girl hid in a bush and was well hidden there. The wolf could not see her and started to give up. The climax of the story is the part, when Bertha wanted to get out of the bush, but her medals began clinking together so the wolf found the girl and ate her. The children are sitting quietly in awe because they have never heard “such a beautiful story”. The aunt comments that the story is too violent and not acceptable for the children to hear. The bachelor responds to this by saying that the story had fascinated them and had them kept quiet for ten minutes while her story had not.
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For the next 6 months, the children bothered the aunt for a story like the bachelor’s. Character Analysis: The main character of the story “The Storyteller“ by Hector Hugh Munro (Saki) is the bachelor. He is a stranger and not part of the family but in my opinion he plays the most important role in the story. I think that he is very imaginative because when the aunt asks him to tell the children a better story, makes up a really good one in a few seconds. The story is a kind of tale and he tells it with lots of details so that the children keep calm. He is also a good entertainer and can deal with young childen .
As his story is more brutal and gruesome than the aunt’s, the bachelor manages to do what the aunt could not : entertain the children. After the aunt fails with entertaining the children, he helps her and is finally able to keep them calm. That is why I think that the bachelor is very helpful. But according to the opinion of the aunt, he is hard and unsympethatic (end of page 65).
In contrast to the bachelor, the aunt is a really bad entertainer. She tries to keep the children calm in different ways, like by talking about the animals outside the window or telling a story but she always fails.
I also think that she is annoyed very quickly. Cyril (the aunt’s nephew) is the only character Saki named. He is very inquisitive and questions everything. You can see this in the whole story because he always ask “why..? “. And becaus he is questioning everything, he can be very annoying. The only thing the author doesn’t really go into the girls character’s. The only thing why they remain in my thoughts is because the girls had bad remarks about the aunt’s story. [“It’s the stupiest story I’ve ever heard,“ said the bigger of the small girls, with immense conviction. page 66].
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Theme: The theme of the story “The Storyteller” is that if you are an ideal that does not mean that you can always expect good at the end. Saki established a theme of humility. Bertha’s medals symbolize narcissism, and lead to her death. Symbols: The Children: In my opinion, the children in the train are the most straightforward in the story. They represent society as a whole, and their views are intended to be synonymous with the moral ideals of the larger real-world public. Just as the children expect special virtue to be rewarded exceptionally, society expects the same.
The whole purpose of the story within the story (the one the bachelor tells the children) is that exceptional virtue can be a danger. The children’s interest and surprise in this revelation serves as a symbolic prediction of how an audience will respond to the story. The Good Girl: The good girl in the story within a story, who is often referred as “horridly good”, represents less a specific person than an ideal. Her only purpose in the story is to function as the symbolic manifestation of that ideal, here exceptional goodness. Her actions and thoughts are very common for the simple reason that ideals do not hae personalities.
Instead, the girl is used to demonstrate the advantages of virtue and how those advantages can lead to consequences that would otherwise not befall a less-good person. The Garden: The garden is an unusual element of the story. It is meant to represent the rewards of virtue, but it does not embody the traditional image of the Eden Garden. That means, it is not a standard paradise. Flowers are substituted for pigs, suggesting the garden is more a place of interest rather than of pleasure. This idea of an exclusive reward for goodness in an idea possessed by the children on the train and, therefore, by society as a whole.
The Pigs: Through their representation of moderation, the pigs tie closely into the symbols I have already mentioned. When Bertha attracts the attention of the wolf, she is attracting it away from the pigs. This symbolizes the primary theme of the story – that being exceptional can attract both, negative and positive fortune. The pigs represent the ideal of moderation, which is why they are able to escsape the danger of the wolf. The Wolf: The wolf simply represents misfortune. Its role in the story is to accept the understandings of moral justice, and it does this through the devouring of the good girl.
I enjoyed reading this short story. It was written in a suspenseful way as each member of the family was taken away into the woods while the grandmother conversed with the Misfit. A shot rings out from the woods and the other two males emerge without the previously escorted family member. The story also makes you wonder if the grandmother is going to get it in the end. I was baffled by the comment ...
Had Bertha not be exceptionally good, the wolf would have eaten one of the pigs. But because something exceptional caught his attention those that were moderate (the pigs) were not eaten. The wolf, just like the girl and the pigs, is an embodiment of an ideal. Saki presents a view of the world – that exceptional virtue is not always rewarded exceptionally. Narrative techniques: The story is written in the third-person/omniscient. Discussion Questions: 1. Discuss about a time where you were told a story in order to learn a moral. Who told you the story?
What was the story about and what was its lesson? 2. Do you think that the bachelor’s behavior was appropriate, or should he have told the children a less brutal story? Discuss the answer with your classmates. 3. “The Storyteller” shows the author’s feelings about how entertainment can be used to teach a lesson. Do you agree or disagree with the idea that entertainment helps people to learn? Quiz Question: 1. After the aunt finishes her story, what is the bachelor’s behavior? What is the aunt’s reaction? 2. How was the bachelor different from the aunt in the way he told the story? 3.
Where and why do the children first become interested in the bachelor’s story? 4. In what ways is Bertha punished for her goodness? Answers: 1. The bachelor said “You don’t seem to be a success as a storyteller. “ The aunt bristled in instant defence at this unexpected attack. She denies this by saying that “it’s a very difficult thing to tell a story that children can both understand and appreciate. “ 2. The bachelor tells his story way more grippling than the aunt and with lots of details. He responds more on the children and tells them what they want to hear : an improper story. . The children first come excited when the bachelor mentions the words “horribly good“ because the word horrible in connection with goodness is a noveltry that commends itself. 4. Because Bertha always wears her medals for obedience, punctuality and good behaviour, the wolf finds her in the bush and eats her. Vocabulary List: 1. reluctantly : unwillingly 2. satisfactory : an answer that the nephew accepts 3. estimation : opinion 4. petulant : irritable 5. conviction : condemnation 6. (to) arouse : (to) awaken 7. infant life : the beginning of a child’s life
Many parents with children know how hard it is to travel on long trips with them. In the short story "The Story Teller" by Saki, an aunt was traveling with 3 little children. When the tries to get the children's attention, the children don't respond to her and continue to disobey her. When a bachelor that was traveling in the same carriage as them starts to tell the offspring's a story, the ...