Sredni Vashtar

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  • Published : November 18, 2012
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Summary of “Sredni Vashtar” by Saki

First Section - Plot Summary

“Sredni Vashtar” is a story about a young boy named Conradin who has a deathly disease. He lives under the care of his cousin, Mrs. De Ropp, who he hates. Conradin life is very dull and boring except for the garden shed where he keeps a polecat ferret and a Houdan hen. He begins worshiping and idolizing the ferret, and eventually invents a new religion for himself. Mrs. De Robb sees Conradin’s constant disappearance and investigates. She takes the only thing Conradin truly loves, the hen. Conradin starts to have murderous thoughts. Once again, Mrs. De Ropp notices that something is up, and goes to find out what is in the shed. Conradin frantically prays to Sredni Vashtar. After a few moments, the ferret emerges with blood on its mouth. Conradin smiles and eats a piece of toast while the other members of the household find Mrs. De Ropp’s dead body. “Sredni Vashtar” is a gruesome story about a young boy’s indirect murder.

Second Section- Literary Analysis

Short story elements

Protagonist: The protagonist is Conradin. He is a weak boy but has a great imagination. Conradin shows a strong sense of devotion and loyalty to Sredni and never abandoned his god. Conradin was able to bring joy into happiness into his otherwise miserable life. Conradin was technically not responsible for Mrs. De Ropp’s sad end.

Antagonist: The antagonist is Mrs. De Ropp. Mrs. De Ropp is a controlling and harsh woman who only takes care of Conradin because she believes that he is going to die soon. Mrs. De Ropp purposefully prohibits Conradin’s consumption of the food he likes, such as toast. Also, she restricts Conradin to a boring and dull life and seeks to destroy any hope of happiness that Conradin tries to bring to himself. Mrs. De Ropp’s actions ultimately caused her own demise.

Setting: The setting is the shed for tools that Conradin keeps Sredni and the Houdan hen. The tool shed is the only place...
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