In "The Wonderful Window," a short story in Lord Dunsany's The Book of Wonders, Mr. Sladden, "the silliest young man in business," gives all the money he has to an old man in exchange for a magical window. When the old man comes to fit the window, Mr. Sladden wonders why he bought it, as he has no need for another window. Avoiding an awkward situation, he says nothing to the old man. When Mr. Sladden goes up to his room, he notices that the window has been placed over his tea cupboard. As he looks through the magical window, he beholds a startling sight.
When Mr. Sladden glanced through his new window it was late in a summer's evening; the butterflies some while ago would have closed their wings, though the bat would scarcely yet be drifting abroad — but this was in London: the shops were shut and street-lamps not yet lighted.
Mr. Sladden make outs a whole new world through his new window. Though it is evening time in London, the sky appears "blazing blue" through the window. Mr. Sladden gazes "far, far beneath him" on a "mediaeval city set with towers"complete with "brown roofs and cobbled streets" and "white walls and buttresses." He sees evidence of a carefree attitude among the townspeople in their calm movements about the town. The "idle" archers "lolled" on the towers. Above each tower Mr. Sladden clearly sees banners with "little golden dragons all over a pure white field." The sounds of the "motor-buses" and the "newsboys howling" from his other window bring him back temporarily to reality.
1. What is the significance of Mr. Sladden having second thoughts about buying the window?
2. How is the world through the window different from London? What is the significance of this difference?
3. Why do the banners fascinate Mr. Sladden so?
4. Is Lord Dunsany's description of a late summer evening in London effective? Is he trying to reach only a London audience?
Last modified 5 April 2004