Is "Sredni Vashtar" a Horror Short Story?

Topics: Protagonist, Antagonist, Religion Pages: 3 (895 words) Published: February 25, 2013
"Sredni Vashtar" Takes a close look into the life and interactions of and between Conradin; his cousin and mentor, Mrs. de Ropp and Conradin's Ferret and God: Sredni Vashtar. It can be described as a horror story because of its character's description, themes and setting. It shows the religious downfall of the protagonist, the death of the antagonist and the lack of coherence in society.

Saki emphasises the horror in the main characters, including both the protagonists and antagonists. "Conradin" is described as a "ten years old" boy, skinny and sick who "will not live for another 5 years". It is not a nice image for a boy, and it can either cause sympathy or apathy. However, the fact that he has a "rampant" imagination and he uses it to evade reality, intimidates the reader. The antagonist is Mrs. De Ropp, a high-class elder woman, which is Conradin's "guardian and cousin". Even if she does not admit it "she disliked Conradin", which becomes obvious with some actions and details she has with Conradin, such as killing his hen and friend. Sredni Vashtar is a ferret, a God and a religion, all at the same time. It's difficult for a reader, especially if we took into account the social and religious contex, to not feel uncomfortable or intimidated with/by this character. It symbolises Conradin's religious fail, it kills Mrs. De Ropp and is described as a fierce beast. Also it has complete control over Conradin, even that it's not a thinking individual. The maid is the other human character described. She is the contact point with society and ordinary lifestyles, in other words reality. She is described as a clumsy and "foolish" person, who lacked importance. This shows the author's and protagonist's opinion of society.

Despite the fact that is not described in detail, the setting has a lot of impact on the reader. First of all, the story is set during fall, the horror season in most cultures. It's also the time when nature begins to die. The Edwardian mansion...
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