Analysis of “the lumber room” by H. Munro
The text under analysis is a short story by a British novelist and short-story writer Hector Hugh Munro who was born in Akyab, Burma when it was one of the parts of the British Empire 1870, he was killed on the French front during the first world war in 1916, he is better known by the pseudonym Saki, and he is considered a master of the short story and often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. Beside his short stories, he wrote a full-length play, The Watched Pot, in collaboration with Charles Maude; two one-act plays; a historical study, The Rise of the Russian Empire, the only book published under his own name. It is necessary to mention that after his mother’s death he was sent to England with his siblings and they were brought up by their grandmother and aunts in the early of childhood. And the character of the aunt in this story is created based on one of his aunts, by the words of Munro’s sister. The story is about a boy’s expedition in a lumber room. He is called Nicholas who is in disgrace by putting a frog into his bread-and-milk. On the contrary, the other children are to be driven to the sands at Jagborough. Actually, it is a special way of punishment created by their aunt who is a woman of few ideas. Nicholas is in disgrace so he is not allowed to get into the gooseberry garden. In fact Nicholas is determined to get into the lumber room, he knows where the key is kept and he even practiced with the key of the schoolroom door. In the end he achieves his aim and spends a great time in the lumber room, the picture on the tapestry, the candlesticks, the books and so many other subjects, which are claiming his attention. Suddenly, an abrupt voice of his aunt comes from the gooseberry garden, exactly from a rain-water tank. Nicholas doesn’t give his hand to his aunt, because he considers the voice sounds like the Evil One’s but not aunt’s. This story ends again in the dining room, where all children are tired and aunt is in a big irritation, however, only Nicholas is content to thinking about the things he has seen in the lumber room. This story is a masterpiece of narration and description, first of all, the plot is funny and attractive, we can see in the exposition how a little smart boy gets a punishment by bringing a frog into his basin of bread-and-milk, and his funny words about the older, wiser, and better people. The other children who are sent to the sands get a special treat. Then the story reaches its first climax when Nicholas is in the lumber room and the description of the subjects and his imagination are unforgettable. From Nicholas’ youthful eyes, I find even the lumber room can also be so wonderful, which is not worse than Alice’s Wonderland. When the place changes from the lumber room to the gooseberry garden it gets to its second climax. It seems unusual for me that Nicholas doesn’t help his aunt when she drops into the rain-water tank. But I see Nicholas is still smart and unusual by saying the sound of Evil One’s. The most interesting thing is the resolution of the story; all gather again in the dining room but the dinner seems to be more silent than the breakfast. The children are so tired and there have been no sands to play on. Aunt is anger. Nicholas also keeps silent; he is thinking about the huntsman, he believes he can escape from the wolves. There are two main characters in the story, Nicholas and his aunt. All the rest are minor characters, his boy-cousin Bobby, girl-cousin and the kitchen-maid. The relationship between the children (esp. Nicholas) and their aunt is rather antagonistic. Even though, the two main characters are considered to be the protagonists of the story, the character of Nicholas is the positive one as the character of the aunt seems to be is more negative. As the protagonist, Nicholas is round and dynamic. According to the development of the story, I can see Nicholas from different sides. By bringing a frog into...
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