Analysis of _Sredni Vashtar_ and _Such a Pretty Little Picture_
_Sredni Vashtar_ and _Such a Pretty Little Picture_ are short stories whose main heroes share a common character trait: they both dream about a world where they can finally be free. Both of them live in a reality in which they do not feel happy and they use their imagination to escape from their forlorn position. The two protagonists are Conradin, a ten-year-old boy who is diagnosed with a fatal illness and Mr. Wheelock, who has a seemingly perfect life but deep down he wants nothing more but escape. While Conradin is a prisoner of his own illness, Mr. Wheelock is cornered by the expectations of society.
"Conradin was ten years old, and the doctor had pronounced his professional opinion that the boy would not live another five years." - with this opening sentence starts the story of Conradin. He is a boy who carries a huge burden which should not be beard by someone so young. He lives with his aunt, Mrs. De Ropp, who takes pleasure in forbidding Conradin everything that might bring him joy. Mrs. De Ropp is portrayed as a cold and cruel lady who treats Conradin poorly and likes thwarting him under the guise of taking care of him. The only safe haven for Conradin is a little shed where he keeps his two pets: a Houdan hen, which he considers a dear friend and a ferret, whom he fears and idealizes as a god, Sredni Vashtar. Each night, Conradin worships and prays to the "hutch-god" and begs him: "Do one thing for me, Sredni Vashtar.". He does not specify what he wants, because gods are supposed to know one`s deepest desire. One day Mrs. De Ropp finds out about Conradin`s visits to the shed and goes to investigate, but she never emerges again. In the last scene the blood-covered ferret appears and Conradin sighs in relief to finally be set free. (_Sredni Vashtar_, Saki)
Mr. Wheelock appears to be a perfect husband with a perfect family and perfect life. But it is just the surface. He is...
PARKER, D.: _Such a Pretty Little Picture_, Penguin Books, London, 1995, ISBN: 978-1-101-14403-9
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