In “The Lumber Room” and “The Storyteller,” Saki explores the relationshipbetween children and adults. Describe these relationships and discuss how the writer creates his characters.In both “The Lumber Room” and “The Storyteller,” Saki createsinteresting relationships between children and adults. In most of Saki’sstories he tends to favour the children rather than the adults.
This makeshis stories humorous and interesting.In “The Lumber Room,” Nicholas is portrayed as quite a stupid littleboy after telling his aunt that there was a frog in his breakfast. But soonwe discover that he put it there himself and as the story develops we seethat Nicholas is much smarter than his aunt. He uses his punishment to hisadvantage by deciding to go into the lumber-room. Nicholas prepares everyaspect of his plan so he won’t get caught; he even practises turning thekey in a lock and leaving everything the way he found it. This shows thatNicholas is able to outsmart his aunt.Nicholas was told by his aunt not to go into the Gooseberry garden sohe followed her instructions, therefore making her think she has power overNicholas, even though he is spending his time in the lumber room, “he hadno intention of trying to get into the gooseberry garden, but it wasextremely convenient for him that his aunt should believe that he had.”When the aunt is looking for him, she goes and looks in the gooseberrygarden, thinking that he has disobeyed her, even though he hasn’t.
When shefalls into the rainwater tank, and tells him to come and help her, Nicholasreplies by telling her that he is not allowed in the gooseberry garden.Nicholas twists all his aunt’s words and he describes her as “the Evil One”that is tempting him so he will get into trouble. The aunt tries tomanipulate Nicholas, but he ends up manipulating her because he senses herweaknesses and uses it to his advantage.Saki creates Nicholas’ character so effectively by making him soperfect, yet so mischievous.
The reader is drawn to his character becauseit reminds us of what the reader was like as a child and so we feel closeto him. He constantly twists his aunt’s words and makes her seem like thebad one. The aunt seems like a boring person and very stuck in her ownways. She doesn’t have time for Nicholas’ games and she doesn’t have anysympathy or compassion when Nicholas’ cousin hurts herself, “she’ll soonget over that.
” There doesn’t seem to be any trust between Nicholas and hisaunt regarding the gooseberry garden and she doesn’t tend to listen to thechildren, “you often don’t listen when we tell you important things.” Sakidoesn’t describe Nicholas’ physical appearance so that the reader canimagine what he would look like.Nicholas is also a very determined and intelligent character and thisis shown when he makes his plans to get inside the lumber-room. He knowshis aunt will think, he will try and get into the gooseberry garden and sohe can deceive her, “I was told I wasn’t to go into the gooseberry garden.”Nicholas also seems to be able to appreciate things for someone of such ayoung age, “Nicholas was in an unknown land, compared with which thegooseberry garden was a stale delight, a mere material pleasure..
.astorehouse of unimagined treasures.”In “the Storyteller,” the aunt finds it difficult to occupy andcontrol the children. She tries to direct their attention to things outsidethe carriage, “Come look out the window..
.look at those cows!” The childrenare very impatient and demand a good story, the aunt tries to tell a goodstory but the children don’t like it. When the man in the same carriagetells them a story, the children finally calm down.
“The story beganbadly,” said the smaller of the small girls, “but it had a beautifulending.” The children tell the man that it was so good that it was”horribly good.” The aunt is very jealous and angry that he could controlthe children and that she couldn’t, “a most improper story to tell youngchildren!”Saki creates the character of the children by describing them verysimply as “a small girl, and a smaller girl and a small boy,” to make thereader imagine what they look like for themselves. The children are alsodescribed as “emphatically occupying the compartment,” and they seem totake a lot of energy out of the aunt.The two stories are very similar because both aunts cannot controlthe children and the children outsmart the adults in their childlike ways.In the end the reader favours the children more, because the adultsconstantly say that they can’t have this and they can’t have that and stillthe children win.
“The Storyteller” gives an insight into the children’s minds. Itshows the reader how the children would like the aunt to tell them storiesand their views towards the people around them. “The Lumber Room” alsogives an insight into Nicholas’ imagination and how he is able to outsmarthis aunt; this makes the reader closer to the characters because theyunderstand what the children are thinking.