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Both “the mouse and “the storyteller” are wonderful short stories by Hector Hugh Munro, a British author who is popularly known by the pen name “Saki.” As it is observed, there is much in common with the two stories which revolve around the inescapable adventures of children as it would be perceived by the adults. One notable manner by which both stories would be similar is through their settings; the narration in both stories is contained in the characters’ brief journey in railway carriages where the stories’ thematic settings and subject matters are fully expressed. However, as it is observed from the text, both stories would differ greatly in terms of their thematic settings.
The Story Teller
This is a single narration of literature that tells the story of the inquisitive, notorious children (two small girls and a boy), the harried aunt, and the ingenious bachelor. The story is set inside a hot, sultry railway carriage on a summer afternoon. The aunt would be attached to the children while the bachelor was a total stranger who had just happened to share the compartment with them. Both the children and the aunt would constantly be conversational in a more persistent manner that expressed disagreement more than any form of consent or agreement. As the author observes in his own words, most of the remarks from the aunt’s side would be fraught with the authoritative term ‘Don’t’ while nearly all the remarks by the children countered with ‘Why?’
This argument is carried on in a very amusing and discouraging way that would draw the attention of the bachelor who finds himself getting involved in the raffle without a formal welcoming from anyone. However, unlike the aunt, who doesn’t pass the children’s assessment as a good storyteller, the bachelor succeeds at winning the children’s praise with his wonderful story of Bertha; the extraordinary little girl who was eaten by a wolf. There are several themes observed in this story about children. For instance, it is quite clear from the narration that kids may need variety to be fully satisfied. Another inner meaning of the story is that children should be allowed to apply their imagination where necessary and for this reason, adults ought to express their cooperation by offering appropriate responses to their unending questions no matter how amusing they might sound.
This is a short story of Theodoric Voler, who had been brought up by a fond mother whose main solitude would be to keep him protected from the harsh realities of life. However, Theodoric would once find himself having to survive by himself in a ‘real world’ following her mother’s death. The setting of this story, just like “The Storyteller” takes place inside a railway car whereby literary elements are applied to emphasize the main themes of the narration. Considering Theodoric’s upbringing and temperament, even a simple journey by the railroad would be fraught with discords and petty annoyances. This is well evident one morning in September when Theodoric finds himself traveling inside a second-class compartment which he would share with a young lady of his age.
As the journey begins, Theodoric is observed to be conscious of disturbing feelings as well as general discomposure of the mind. Things however would turn out even worse for him when a mouse makes a stray dash into his clothes. His furtive efforts to dislodge the intruder rodent would disturb the peace of the young lady who had been taken in a slumber for all this while. Afraid that the lady might have caught him in a state of undress, Theodoric would decide to tell the whole story to her but how sorry would he feel eventual on realizing that the young lady was blind! The theme in this story is the disaster that is likely to brew up in many growing children as a result of domestic supervision which hinders them many real lessons in life.
The two stories bear different thematic settings. Through the stories, Saki has employed an excellent narrative approach to express some realities of life that are certain to be realized by most growing children.