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Theme of "The Storyteller" by Saki

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by

Eric Kang

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of Theme of "The Storyteller" by Saki

Symbols
Setting
The story takes place in a train carriage
The train carriage is a stand-in for society
Satire
Theme of "The Storyteller" by Saki
The Theme of
"The Storyteller" by Saki

Irony
Bertha's story is ironic: goodness should be rewarded with a long happy life, but in fact she is rewarded with death
ironic that her medals, the embodiment of her goodness, lead to her downfall
also ironic that Bertha's extreme goodness was the only reason she was in the park in the first place
Being good isn't essentially as desirable as it is made out to be.
The Wolf
symbolizes the pain and suffering which is part of life
the standard belief is that bad things don't happen to good people and pain and suffering can be evaded or overcome by being good
Saki's story suggests that this is not the case
The Storyteller
the storyteller could be a representation of Saki himself, who knows what the audience or readers want
by telling a story that has no good moral, the storyteller (and Saki) is saying that stories with morals are not what the people want
The Aunt
tells a story about being good
suggests to people that it is of great importance to be good and that goodness will be rewarded
however, the suggestions and story are rebuffed by the children
Bertha's Medals
represent good behavior
proof that Bertha is extraordinarily good
these medals lead directly to Bertha's downfall
indicate how dangerous it is to be too good
The Children
represent the writer's audience
audiences are uninterested in and unimpressed by stories with moralistic purposes
the children are really interested in more vulgar things such as violence and death
Irony cont.
the children, who we naturally expect to be the embodiment of innocence and goodness are in fact, delighted by all the destructive aspects of the bachelor's story
the aunt, representing standard social morality is shown as being boring and irrelevant
the author is making a joke of one of the common practices of society, which is to teach them to be good
this is shown in the aunt's story where the girl was extremely good and she was saved, and the story was not liked by the children
by the storyteller telling a story that is loved without a moral, Saki is poking fun at all the other stories that have generic morals
In Relation to Theme
this satire directly relates to the theme of the short story
the girl, as good as she was, gained nothing from being good and in fact lost more
this could be saying that society's ways of teaching young children and saying that being good is very desirable may not lead to very desirable outcomes
Conclusion
the theme that being good isn't the best thing is shown through its symbols and irony
the girl was too good, and as a result she died
there is a saying: "no good act shall go unpunished" Saki's story provides dramatic support for this idea
Full transcript