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Saki (H. H. Munro)
Transcript of Saki (H. H. Munro)
Hector Hugh Munro, or better known by his pen name "Saki", is a British short story author born on December 18, 1870 in Akyab, Burma (Which has since been renamed to Myanmar).
In 1872, his mother embarked on a trip with him. Little did she know, this trip would be her last. She suffered a miscarriage, never recovered, and died. Upon her passing, the Munro siblings were sent from Burma back to England.
When Munro was 23, he went to Burma to enroll in the Colonial Burmese Military Police. A year after he enrolled, ill-heath caused him to return to England. This was the beginning of his career as a journalist.
Munro was a homosexual, however Britain at the time considered homosexuality as a crime. This led him to keep his preferences as a secret.
Munro chose the pen name "Saki" because of the poem "Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam". Saki was the cup bearer in said poem.
The Open Window
Hector Hugh Munro
Munro began writing for various publications including the Daily Express, the Bystander, The Morning Post, the Outlook, and his "Alice in Westminister" political sketches for the Westminister Gazette.
He regularly satirized the then Edwardian society with hidden but cruel innuendo, occasionally bitter and frequently unconventional.
Munro released his first book titled "The Rise of the Russian Empire", a historical treatise, in 1900. His first short story collection titled "Not-so-Stories" in 1902.
During 1902 to 1908, Munro worked as a foreign correspondent in the Balkans, Russia, and Paris.
Shortly after, he published "The Chronicles of Clovis" and "Unbearable Bassington". The heartless and cruel heroes of these short stories would grow to become his most famous heroes.
A couple years after wards, in 1914, Munro dealt with the theme of the results if the German emporer conqured England in "When William Came."
July 28, 1914
On this fateful day, World War 1 began. Munro was officially too old to participate at the ripe old age of 44, however he enlisted into the 22nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. He was given the offer of a commission but refused, stating that soldiers wouldn't obey him due to his lack of experience.
Instead, he wrote a number of short stories from the dust filled trenches and promoted to Lance Sergeant in September of 1916.
While serving near the french town of Beaumount-Hamel on November 16, 1916, Munro was fatally shot. His last words were recorded from several sources.
"Put out that bloody cigarette!"
Portrait of H. H. Munro
Portrait of H. H. Munro during World War 1
Portrait of H. H. Munro, 1939 by William Oliphant Hutchison
H. H. Munro and members of his family
"Saki." <i>Wikipedia</i>. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
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"H. H. Munro." <i>Online Literature</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
"Saki Biography - ENotes.com." <i>Enotes.com</i>. Enotes.com, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
"Saki | Biography - Scottish Writer." <i>Encyclopedia Britannica Online</i>. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
"Short Stories, Classic Literature, Shakespeare, Children's Stories, Poems, Speeches & Essays." <i>American Literature</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
"Saki (H.H. Munro) - Biography." <i>Saki (H.H. Munro) - Biography</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
"Saki Biography." <i>- Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
Saki's mother, Mary Frances, died after getting run over by a runaway cow in 1872.
He makes many references to the poem, most notably by his character in his short story "Reginald on Christmas Presents".
Mr. Nuttel runs away, terrified. It is then revealed that Vera was just tricking Mr. Nuttle into thinking that her story was true. Vera makes up one final lie, about how Mr. Nuttle ran away because of his "horror of dogs".
Quotes from Saki
"People talk vaguely about the innocence of a little child, but they take mighty good care not to let it out of their sight for twenty minutes."
"Every reformation must have its victims. You can't expect the fatted calf to share the enthusiasm of the angels over the prodigal's return."
Saki was known for the satire used in his stories. He wrote with witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre styling.
This kind of language transferred into his speech, resulting in very interesting quotes
He even references the parable "The Prodigal Son" in one of his quotes.
"Hector Hugh Munro Quotes." <i>BrainyQuote</i>. Xplore, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
"Top 10 Saki (H.H. Munro) Quotes." <i>Jades Journal</i>. N.p., 07 Mar. 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
"Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favourite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it." Here the child's voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly human. "Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back someday, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing 'Bertie, why do you bound?' as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window - "
She broke off with a little shudder.
Vera sticks to her story very well. As the three men return from hunting, she "stared out through the open window with a dazed horror in her eyes", pretending to be horrified. This makes Mr. Nuttle believe that this is in fact a scary returning of the dead.
The Open Window is one of Saki's most popular short stories. This story is about Mr. Framton Nuttle, a nutty but naive hypochondriac who is tricked by Vera, a fifteen year old girl with a mischievous imagination. The lie she tells is so unexpected, to the point where the reader is momentarily tricked as well!
"Here they are at last!" she cried. "Just in time for tea, and don't they look as if they were muddy up to the eyes!".
Framton shivered slightly and turned towards the niece with a look intended to convey sympathetic comprehension. The child was staring out through the open window with a dazed horror in her eyes. In a chill shock of nameless fear Framton swung round in his seat and looked in the same direction...
Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat; the hall door, the gravel drive, and the front gate were dimly noted stages in his headlong retreat. A cyclist coming along the road had to run into the hedge to avoid imminent collision.
"A most extraordinary man, a Mr. Nuttel," said Mrs. Sappleton; "could only talk about his illnesses, and dashed off without a word of goodby or apology when you arrived. One would think he had seen a ghost."
"I expect it was the spaniel," said the niece calmly; "he told me he had a horror of dogs. He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him. Enough to make anyone lose their nerve."
Romance at short notice was her speciality.