Last Updated 20 Apr 2022

Lumber-Room Essay

Category Metaphor, Writer
Words 1270 (5 pages)
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lumber-room The story under analysis was written by Hector Munro, a British novelist and a short-story writer. After his parents’ death he was brought up by a grandmother and two aunts, one of them was a woman of ungovernable temper, of fierce likes and dislikes, imperious and a moral coward. She was the last person who should have been in charge of children. The character of the aunt in The Lumber-Room is Aunt Augusta to the life. The story is about a little boy Nikolas who lives with his cruel aunt, brother and cousins.

One day he commits the offence thus bringing the punishment upon himself, but he’s not upset as he is intended to sneak into the lumber-room. He plays trick with his aunt and finally gets into the forbidden paradise. The main idea of this story is the conflict between unchangeable conventional reality and poetry and intellectual freedom, between dogmatic, pedantic, philistine mind and poetic imagination. The story is a 3-person narration interlaced with inner thoughts and descriptive passages. The prevailing mood is rather positive, ironical and highly emotional.

The text under study can be divided into 4 logically complete parts. The first part can be entitled “the 1 part of the plan”. Nickolas is not going with his small brother and his cousins to the Jagborough sands as his aunt has punished him for his disgraceful conduct at breakfast when he refused to eat his wholesome bread-and milk on the seemingly frivolous ground that there was a frog in it. The author’s attitude to the aunt is revealed with the help of the antonomasia “older and wiser and better people” and the high-flown adjectives “wholesome and frivolous”.

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Nickolas is shown as a very wise and clever boy for his age. In the following paragraph the author resorts to some bookish words such as “alleged”, “profoundly in error”, “utmost assurance” and long sentences to make the reader feel the style of aunt’s thoughts and haughty treatment of the children. Apart from Nickolas his aunt is described rather directly; she’s shown as self-confident and self-righteous person who can never admit her mistake. Her false piety is depicted by ironical use of religious words, such as “sin” and “depravity”.

Judicial and military terminology such as “rigorously debarred”, “skilled tactician” conveys the tense atmosphere in the aunt and boy’s relations. At the time of children’s departure N drops a few decent tears. But he isn’t upset as this is just a part of his plan. The second part can be entitled as “the 2 part of the plan”. N is forbidden to go into the gooseberry garden as he’s in disgrace. And his aunt is going to keep an eye on it. But N himself feels perfectly capable of being in disgrace and in the gooseberry garden at the same time. And with the help of the zeugma the author contributes humorous effect in the text.

The reader can trace the opposition between the aunt and the boy, which is again reproduced by the military terms, such as “sorties”, “operations”, “sentry-duty”, “unauthorized intrusion”. This idea also appears in the different attitude to the gooseberry garden. For aunt it is a forbidden paradise and for N it’s just a mere material pleasure. The descriptive passage of the aunt shows her as a woman of few ideas, with immense power of concentration. So, during N’s aunt duty, the boy gets the key, which opens the door of the lumber-room. The third part can be entitled “in the lumber-room”.

N gets into the lumber-room and everything is new for him. In the first paragraph we see the repetition of the word “it”, which indicates Nikolas’s strong desire to get into the lumber-room. It was carefully sealed but this fact just stirred his curiosity. With the help of the metaphor “unimagined treasure” and description of the lumber-room (it was dimly lit), the author creates the mysterious atmosphere. Nicholas’s aunt is shown as rather conservative and mean as she prefer to consign things to dust and damp to preserve them and not to spoil.

The metaphorical epithet “living breathing story” is used to show that Nickolas was impressionable, imaginative, full of creative ideas with poetic nature. It is understood indirectly through Nicholas’s attitude to the tapestry picture, which he sees for the first time but creates a vivid fairytale with a great number of small details. And the questions used in this paragraph indicate the dynamically developing plot of the fairytale in the N’s mind. The metaphorical epithet “golden minutes” is used to show that the time Nickolas spends in the lumber-room is very precious.

When N finishes with the picture he notices other objects of delight and interest. The great number of epithets used in this part such as: objects of delight, (claiming his) instant attention, quaint candlesticks, undreamed-of creatures and the metaphorical expression “for the eyes to feast on” – emphasizes the fact that N isn’t used to such unusual things and it makes the opposition to the things in the house, which are “bare” and “cheerless”, dull and shapeless. The use of the exclamatory marks shows highly emotional state of the boy.

Suddenly, the scream and then shriek of the aunt come from the gooseberry garden. But N smiles as he feels his victory in the war. Being skilled tactician he restores things to their places, shakes some dust on them, creeps from the room, locks the door and replaces the key exactly where he had found it. He saunters into the garden considering himself the winner of the battle. The 4th part can be entitled as “The rebellion”. Nickolas hears his aunt’s voice from the gooseberry garden where she gets into the rain-water tank while searching for him and she can’t get out as the sides are slippery.

She asks him to help but he says that he isn’t to go into the garden and suspects her being the Evil One that tempts him to be disobedient. We see now that Nickolas pronounces the aunt’s usual phrase and thus fights her with her own weapon. This idea is proved with the using the metaphor “the prisoner in the tank”. So, the person who rescues the aunt is a kitchemaid. During the evening tea there is fearsome silence. The children are disappointed with the trip as there was the tide and there was no sands to play on and the metaphor punitive expedition contributes the state of the children.

The aunt suffers the situation in the tank and only Nickolas, who is to be in disgrace is satisfied and thinks about the continuation of the story pictured in his mind while watching tapestry in the lumber-room. The story ends again with the antithesis of unchangeable conventional reality and poetry and intellectual freedom. On the whole this text appeals to me as it shows the problems of human nature and children up-bringing. The aunt is a conventional person who tries to keep everything as it is, without any change.

She has no joy in her life and she brings up the children in the way that leads them to the same attitude to the world. But in spite of this, N, a young but extremely wise and clever boy, sees the things from the different side. He is very curious; he enjoys the world and tries to broaden his horizon. This problem of upbringing is still quite acute and the story helps to see it from another side. Moreover, the author makes an abundant usage of different stylistic devices which produce ironical and humorous effect and helps to ridicule such way of up-bringing through the character of the aunt and this makes the story even more vivid.

Lumber-Room Essay essay

Related Questions

on Lumber-Room Essay

What is the main idea of the lumber room?

‘The Lumber-Room’ is a classic short story about a child who is too clever for the adults. Specifically, it is about how one clever but mischievous boy, Nicholas, seeks to outwit his aunt so he can gain access to the lumber-room with its hidden treasures and curiosities.

What is an'lumber room'?

lumber room - a storeroom in a house where odds and ends can be stored (especially furniture) storage room, storeroom, stowage - a room in which things are stored

What is a lumber room called?

Lumber room. Every piece was made-to-order, and when not needed it was neither sold nor discarded. At least one out-of-the-way room was selected to store the pieces that were not in use. This was called the lumber room. Such is what is alluded to in the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary

What is the summary of the lumber room by Saki?

A reading of Saki’s classic short story – by Dr Oliver Tearle. ‘The Lumber-Room’ is a classic short story about a child who is too clever for the adults. Specifically, it is about how one clever but mischievous boy, Nicholas, seeks to outwit his aunt so he can gain access to the lumber-room with its hidden treasures and curiosities.

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