Although set in the real world, Lord Dunsany sets up fantastical hints early on in his narration of "The Wonderful Window." A curiously dressed man arrives at a marketplace to sell, of all things, a window which in turn catches the attention of Mr. Sladden. Mr. Sladden is unlike other people.

The old man in the Oriental-looking robe was being moved on by the police, and it was this that attracted to him and the parcel under his arm the attention of Mr. Sladden. . . . Mr. Sladden had the reputation of being the silliest young man in Business; a touch of romance — a mere suggestion of it — would send his eyes gazing away as though the walls of the emporium were of gossamer and London itself a myth, instead of attending to customers.

In a subsequent dialogue among the two characters the old man confirms the presence of fantasy in this world by revealing that the parcel that he carries "is a magical window." After agreeing to purchase the window with all of his money, Mr. Sladden realizes that "he [does] not want a window."

Questions

1. In the passage how does Dunsany establish a fusion of a realistic and fantastical world?

2. Why would the old man sell the priceless window? By the end of the story does the purchase seem to be worth it?

3. How does Mr. Sladden's romantic characters compare to characters in other fantasy books?

4. Does Mr. Sladden ultimately fit into one world?


Victorian Web Overview Lord Dunsany Discussion Questions Fantasy

Last modified 5 April 2004