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Stories of Ourselves: Sredni Vashtar

An indepth look of the short story
by

Victoria Regan

on 24 September 2012

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Transcript of Stories of Ourselves: Sredni Vashtar

Project by: Victoria Regan Sredni Vashtar
(1912)
Saki (Hector Hugh Munro) Hector Hugh Munro was born in present day Myanmar. After the death of his mother, he moved to England with his brother and sister to live with his two aunts who disliked each other. His aunts used to punish him and his siblings due to their detest for each other. His stories mock the Edwardian social scene often in a macabre and evil way. Biographical Info: The period of time from 1901-1910 where King Edward VII reigned in the United Kingdom. Edwardian Era: Macabre
Deffinition: suggesting the horror of death and decay; gruesome.

Its characterized by a grim atmosphere often with an emphasis on death. Genre A boy named Conradin is dying of an unnamed illness and is forced to live with his cousin Mrs. De Ropp who finds pleasure in mistreating him. The only comfort he finds is in an imaginary world he created in an unused toolshed with a Houdan hen and polecat-ferret named Sredni Vashtar. His imaginary world becomes a sick obsession where Sredni becomes his God. His world starts dwindling down when his cousin ransacks his shed and sells his pet hen. She expected Conradin to be crushed but he was left unemotional. His trips to the shed continued where he worshiped Sredni daily asking for an unknown favor. Mrs. De Ropp investigated one last time. She ransacked his room to find the key to the shed and headed out there one morning. Conradin watched in silence as she searched within his haven. Time passed and Mrs. De Ropp did not return. The story ends with Sredni Vashtar escaping the shed with a dark wet stain on his mouth, and the maid screaming about the presumed death of Mrs. De Ropp. Plot Summary The author uses descriptive, complex, compound sentences that provides the reader with literary elements that generate a sense of cynical humor. Author's Style "Every Thursday, in the dim and musty silence of the tool-shed he worshiped with mystic and elaborate ceremonial before the wooden hutch where dwelt Sredni Vashtar, the great ferret." Example: Conradin: Conradin is a ten year old boy dying of an unnamed illness who lives with his abusive aunt. He's forced to rely on his imagination for comfort.

Sredni Vashtar: Sredni Vashtar is a ferret that lives in tool shed that Conradin visits daily. He is also the God of Conradin's made up religion.

Houdan hen: The hen is the other animal that lives in the tool shed.

Mrs. De Ropp: She is Conradin's cousin and guardian who abuses him. Characters: The story takes place on Mrs. De Ropp's property shifting back and forth between the house and the unused tool shed. Setting The opening scene sets the story and shows the reader the reasoning behind Conradin's dark and obsessive imagination. It also gives the reader insight on why he acts the way he does.

The closing scene shows the triumph in Conradin's rebellion. Significance of the Opening and Closing Scene Houdan Hen- The he represents Conradin's pure side. Once the hen is taken away and sold nothing is left of Conradin but his rebellion.
"The Houdan hen was never drawn into the cult of Sredni Vashtar." It showed the fight of good versus evil.
"With her short-sighted eyes she peered at Conradin, waiting for an outbreak of rage and sorrow, which she was ready to rebuke with a flow of excellent precepts and reasoning. But Conradin said nothing: there was nothing to be said." When his rebellion side won he stopped fighting it and that side of him took over. Symbols Sredni Vashtar- Conradin's rebellious, malicious side lives vicariously through Sredni. Although he's scarred of Sredni he thrives through him.
"Conradin was dreadfully afraid of the lithe, sharp-fanged beast, but it was his most treasured possession." All Conradin had left was his rebellion. The Toast- Oddly enough the toast represented his triumph in rebellion. In the begining Conradin refused to eat the toast after his hen was sold, and going off this assumption he did not eat the toast because he had lost a battle with Mrs. De Ropp.
"I thought you liked toast,'' she exclaimed, with an injured air, observing that he did not touch it.
``Sometimes,'' said Conradin. Conradin only sometimes won against her.
The story ends with Conradin eating and thoroughly enjoying the toast after the death of his cousin because he finally triumphed.
"Conradin fished a toasting-fork out of the sideboard drawer and proceeded to toast himself a piece of bread. And during the toasting of it and the buttering of it with much butter and the slow enjoyment of eating it, Conradin listened to the noises and silences which fell in quick spasms beyond the dining-room door."
"Conradin made himself another piece of toast." Mrs. De Ropp- She symbolized death. Throughout the story he is fighting against this illness while shes fighting against him. But in the end he wins.
"And he knew that the Woman would triumph always as she triumphed now, and that he would grow ever more sickly under her pestering and domineering and superior wisdom, till one day nothing would matter much more with him, and the doctor would be proved right." Her victory meant his succumbing to death. The biggest theme in the story is rebellion. Theme Other Significant Quotes "One of these days Conradin supposed he would succumb to the mastering pressure or wearisome necessary things - such as illness and coddling restrictions and drawn-out dullness. Without his imagination which was rampant under the spur of loneliness, he would have succumbed long ago."
"Mrs. De Ropp would never, in her honestest moments, have confessed to herself that she disliked Conradin, though she might have been dimly aware that thwarting him 'for his good' was a duty which she did not find particularly irksome."
"Such few pleasures as he could contrive for himself gained an added relish from the likelihood that they would be displeasing to his guardian."
"Sredni Vashtar went forth,
His thoughts were red thoughts and his teeth were white.
His enemies called for peace, but he brought them death.
Sredni Vashtar the Beautiful."
"And presently his eyes were rewarded: out through that doorway came a long, low, yellow-and-brown beast, with eyes a-blink at the waning daylight, and dark wet stains around the fur of jaws and throat."
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