“the Witch” by Shirley Jackson and “the Storyteller” by Saki

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Corresponding Chronicles
Sheryl Gounder

The art of storytelling has been around for many generations. “The Witch” by Shirley Jackson and “The Storyteller” by Saki share the common act of storytelling. The stories reflect each other’s main concept of telling a story within a story. Both authors provide imagery and detail within the ambience and characters.

The stories share similar surroundings. “The Storyteller” and “The Witch” begin in a railway carriage. As both stories advance so do the settings. Both stories take a twist by continuing the act of telling a story within a story. In “The Storyteller,” an Aunt and Bachelor compete in telling a tale to three children. Saki seems to acknowledge the Aunt’s lack of talent in storytelling as he proclaims “evidently her reputation as a storyteller did not rank high in their estimation” (pg.2). Concurrently, the Aunt tells a dull, moralistic story with no detail to atmosphere. Her lack of acknowledging surroundings unfulfilled the curiosity of the children. The bachelor however, excels and entertains the children by telling a thrilling tale. He describes his setting to have contained “lots of other delightful things in the park. There were ponds with gold and blue and green fish in them, and trees with beautiful parrots” (pg.4). His story contains lots of imagery and detail. “The Witch” carries the act of telling a story within a story as a mysterious stranger tells a gruesome story to a young boy. The story told by the elderly man is similar to that of the Aunt from “The Storyteller”. His story provides little attention to setting. Similar to the bachelor from “The Storyteller”, the stranger grasp’s the attention of his audience as “the little boy nodded more vehemently, and the mother lifted her eyes from her book and smiled, listening” (pg.3). Both stories excel in grasping the attention of the reader. The setting of “The Witch” reflects “The Storyteller” through imagery and detail.

Both stories...
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