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The Penguin Complete Saki Summary & Study Guide Description
The Penguin Complete Saki Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:
Reginaldappears in Reginald, Reginald on Christmas Presents, etc.
One of the main characters for several of the stories. The first two sections of the book are titled for Reginald as are most of the stories within those sections. Reginald has a dry humor that is sometimes very subtle. Most of the time Reginald's humor comes at another person's expense. He is apparently very young as evidenced by a conversation with a man in which Reginald says that anyone who reaches the age of thirty has "failed in life."
Reginald is a vain person and talks several times about clothing. He seems incredibly rude on several occasions and seems not to care that others see him as rude. Despite this, he seems to be very much in demand though this is never explained. Reginald is clear on the fact that many others have shortcomings, as is evidenced by the story in which he says that no one understands how to buy presents, though he is apparently an expert on the subject. Reginald also seems disdainful of others' talents, as is seen in his attitude toward poets. He says that the only qualification is that one be born and that he fits that requirement. Reginald could be the alter-ego of the author, H.H. Munro who writes as "Saki." He talks about his education in terms that seem reminiscent of his own educational experiences and his disdain for poets could be a reflection of his chosen field as a writer. However he spends a short time working as a police officer and dies as a soldier.
Francesca Bassingtonappears in The Unbearable Bassington
This is a woman who is living the life of a wealthy widow although she is in fact barely making ends meet. She lives on the charity of a deceased friend who has agreed to allow her the use of a house until the friend's niece marries. Francesca lives in constant fear that the niece's engagement will be announced. It is noted that Francesca doesn't want to live a life of stress and worry and that she desires that her life would be smooth, but that she has a great many things to worry about. One of her biggest concerns is her son Comus. Francesca's attitude toward her son, who is her only child, is not very motherly. She realizes that she misses him when he is away at school but dreads his visits. In fact, she feels sad when the time comes for Comus to leave the country but is also relieved. The most interesting aspect of the relationship between Comus and Francesca is seen when Francesca arrives home to find a telegram waiting. She knows without looking at it that it is a notice of her son's death. This is a fact that indicates a stronger relationship between the two than is seen in any of their interactions. Francesca truly wishes for a good life for Comus and tries on several occasions to direct him on a path that would provide that. However she does not seem especially surprised when Comus does not follow any of her instructions.
Mrs. McKillopsappears in Reginald
This is the woman who throws a garden party. The author invites Reginald hoping to make a favorable impression on Mrs. McKillops who has Persian kittens that the author wants for his own. Reginald knows that this is the reason for his invitation but agrees to go anyway. Reginald creates a disturbance and the party breaks up early, prompting Reginald to say that the author probably is not going to get one of the kittens.
Major Dumbartonappears in The Baker's Dozen
This is one of the main characters from "The Baker's Dozen" who asks Mrs. Emily Carewe to marry him. He has to try to figure out a way to get past the unlucky fact that they will have thirteen children between them. He realizes that he is counted one of his children twice, meaning they have only twelve and that they can marry.
The Baronessappears in Esme
Seen in the story "Esme," the Baroness is obviously of the upper crust of society and has little compassion. She says that she and her husband have remained together because they could not afford to live apart, though it seems likely that her idea of poverty is skewed by her need for the finer things in life. She says that she tries to come to the aid of the child killed by the hyena though her idea of helping is to yell at the hyena. Her greed is seen when she is willing to lose the friendship of the woman named Constance by not giving her a part of the money she had received from selling a broach.
Mrs. Packletideappears in Mrs. Packletide's Tiger
Found in "Mrs. Packletide's Tiger," she is an elderly woman with plenty of money. She wants to kill a tiger because she had a friend who did so and this friend gained a great deal of attention from the feat. Mrs. Packletide's tiger actually dies of fright at the sound of the gun and Mrs. Packletide has to buy the silence of her paid companion. This prompts her decision to never hunt again because of the heavy price of the "incidental expenses."
Clovis Sangrailappears in The Chronicles of Clovis, Esme, etc.
Introduced in the third section of the book with a group of short stories titled "The Chronicles of Clovis," he seems very much like Reginald. Clovis's attitude is self-absorbed, as seen in the story of "The Quest," in which he is very interested in finding out what kind of sauce is going to be served on the asparagus rather than being concerned about the child. Clovis snatches onto the idea that the child might have been taken by wild animals. He points this out to the mother, despite the fact that the mother is already very upset because her son is missing. Clovis is also seen in the section of stories titled Beasts and Super-Beasts and it is here that his last name is revealed. In this story, Clovis hears a piece of news that is incredibly fortunate for a neighbor and he congratulates her. It is noted that he might have kissed her except that he is not typically that demonstrative.
Mrs. Mulletappears in The Brogue
This is the woman who sells a particularly unruly horse to a man that later proposes to Mrs. Mullet's daughter, Jessie. Mrs. Mullet calls on Clovis for help, saying that she has to get the horse back before the young man is killed. Mrs. Mullet cites the fact that she has six daughters. She says that she is not exactly trying to get rid of them, but that "a husband or two" among the group of women would be a positive thing.
Comus Bassingtonappears in The Unbearable Bassington
The son of Francesca, he is the epitome of a self-centered and selfish character. Comus is given instructions by his mother of a course that might endear him to a young woman who could provide him an ample living. However he seems to go out of his way to make certain that he doesn't comply. Comus is so incapable of either getting a job or of holding a relationship together. Eventually Comus has to leave the country in order to go to work and dies there.
Elaineappears in The Unbearable Bassington
The young woman who is described as incredibly wealthy, Elaine is being courted by both Comus and another young man at the same time. Elaine eventually comes to realize that she loves Comus although she has married his friend.
This section contains 1,282 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)