The Blind Spot by Saki (H.H. Munro)
In The Blind Spot by Saki we have the theme of determination, trust, selfishness, loyalty, control, connection, justice and class. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Saki may be exploring the theme of determination. Egbert is determined that Sebastien be held to account for his uncle’s murder. He believes he has the evidence (the letter) to prove that his uncle was murdered and as such is in discussion with Sir Lulworth with regards to how to proceed. Unfortunately for Egbert he appears to be too trusting of Sir Lulworth. Something that is noticeable when Egbert hands Sir Lulworth his uncle’s letter outlining how he really feels about Sebastien. Rather than read the letter or support Egbert’s claims when it comes to the possibility that his uncle was murdered by Sebastien. Sir Lulworth thinks only of himself and burns the letter. The burning of the letter may also be significant as it suggests that Sir Lulworth is acting selfishly. Concerned more with his stomach than finding justice for Sebastien’s uncle. It is as though Sir Lulworth does not wish to know the truth as it may have a direct though unusual impact on him.
It is also possible that Saki is suggesting that Sir Lulworth may consider himself to be above others. That due to his class he does not have to act as others might be forced to act. There is one rule of law for Sir Lulworth while others have to adhere to the normalities that come with reporting a murder. Again for his own sense of well-being Sir Lulworth destroys the letter so as Sebastien can continue to be his cook. The most important person in Sir Lulworth’s life is himself and he appears to have no concern about getting justice for Egbert’s uncle. Which may be surprising to some readers considering the severity of what has happened. An innocent man has been murdered and Sir Lulworth is more concerned about his eating habits than on bringing the culprit to justice. Whereas Egbert shows complete loyalty to his uncle. Even in death when others might have considered the matter to be closed. Which is very much the stance that Sir Lulworth takes by way of his burning of the letter.
It is as though there is no real connection between Sir Lulworth and Egbert’s uncle. He may feel as though he owes him no loyalty which would further suggest to the reader just how selfish Sir Lulworth may actually be. Similarly his non-attendance at Adelaide’s funeral could be seen to suggest that Sir Lulworth thinks only of himself. He knew the woman well yet he declined to go to the funeral nor did he wish to discuss matters with relation to Adelaide prior to having his dinner. In many ways Sir Lulworth is aloof and disconnected from others and seems to live in a world in whereby he is the only authority. It is also possible that by being so trusting of Sir Lulworth, Egbert without knowing it is being naive. He fully expects Sir Lulworth to do the right thing yet this is not what happens. Egbert from the burning of the letter sees the true side of Sir Lulworth and seems to be in disbelief or at least is despondent. Something which many readers might be able to identify with.
Saki also uses Sir Lulworth’s character to draw out the suspense in the story. He uses Sir Lulworth’s desire to dine as being paramount to Sir Lulworth which sets up an element of conflict at the end of the story. Sir Lulworth never changes throughout the story nor does Egbert. On one side is someone (Sir Lulworth) who wishes to remain in control while on the other side (Egbert) we have a character who is looking for justice. At all stages of the story Sir Lulworth remains in control which may be Saki’s way of attempting to highlight to the reader that those of the upper classes at the time the story was written where really the ones who held control or power over others. They lived their lives above the law while everybody else had to adhere to societal norms. There is no sense of change within Sir Lulworth even though he is now aware that Sebastien may have killed Egbert’s uncle. He is still aloof and uncaring. Which may be the point that Saki is attempting to make. He may be suggesting that people like Sir Lulworth, the upper classes, did not really care for others nor did they see themselves as been answerable to the law. If anything Sir Lulworth may consider his own needs to be more important than justice for Egbert’s uncle.