The toys of peace summary

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the toys of peace summary

The Toys of Peace by Saki

This is a comic story of nature and nurture, war and peace, and the creative imagination of children.

Toyshops that make a virtue of not selling pretend guns are enthusiastically supported by parents like me. We’re not very consistent, and tend to excuse toy bows and arrows, swords and spears: they somehow have greater historical respectability, and the real versions are more limited in the damage they can do. Not that it matters:


Image: Children using bananas as guns.

When I was a child, my mother avoided giving my brother toy guns, whereas a family we were friends with had a playroom that was a veritable arsenal. Less than twenty years later, my brother joined the army, whereas the staunch Conservative Party activists found theyd raised three campaigning pacifists.

War and Saki

Saki volunteered in WW1. He was too old to enlist for officer training, so went in as an ordinary trooper. He was injured more than once, and returned to front before officially fit. He was evidently no pacifist, but by the time he wrote this, perhaps he was having second thoughts. He died in the war. This was published posthumously.

The Story

Eleanor Bope has sons of nine and a half and nearly eleven. She reads a newspaper article about the National Peace Council, which echoes her concern that boys “naturally love fighting and all the panoply of war”. She asks her brother, Harvey, that when he next visits, he brings “peace toys”, rather than soldiers and similar.

Harvey agrees to do his best, with the caveat:
There is primitive instinct to be taken into consideration, you know’, said Harvey doubtfully, ‘and hereditary tendencies as well’.

A while later, the boys excitedly unwrap crinkly paper and find what they think is a fort, but it’s a municipal dust-bin! Other models include a YWCA, an art school, a public library, a municipal wash-house, a beehive, a sewer ventilator, and a ballot box. There are even action figures: John Stuart Mill, Sir John Herschel, Rowland Hill, and nameless sanitary inspector, district councillor, and poetess, Mrs Hemans.

“Are we to play with these civilian figures?” asked Eric.
“Of course,” said Harvey, “these are toys; they are meant to be played with.”
“But how?”


History homework becomes oddly appealing. And when Harvey goes to check up on them… You can guess.

Beware Fruit

See the Monty Python - Self Defence Against Fruit sketch HERE.

More Saki

Im gradually collating reviews of Saki short stories under The Best of Saki, HERE, as I read them in a rambling way, over several weeks and months.

You can find his stories, free, on Gutenberg. For example, HERE. Most are very short.
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Published 07.09.2019

The Toys of Peace by SAKI (1870 - 1916) by Humorous Fiction Audiobooks

The Toys of Peace by Saki (H.H. Munro)

In The Toys of Peace by Saki we have the theme of control, childhood, freedom, fear, disappointment and independence 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 control. She feels as though they should not be playing with soldiers as it may have a negative influence on the lives of both boys. If anything Eleanor is not allowing Eric or Bertie to be children and in many ways she is attempting to take away the freedom that is usually associated with childhood. However this is not how Eleanor or Harvey see things. They believe that non-military toys are more productive to children.

At the Children's Welfare Exhibition, which opens at Olympia in three weeks' time, the Peace Council will make an alternative suggestion to parents in the shape of an exhibition of 'peace toys. It is hoped that manufacturers may take a hint from the exhibit, which will bear fruit in the toy shops. Go about in the shops and buy any little toys and models that have special bearing on civilian life in its more peaceful aspects. Of course you must explain the toys to the children and interest them in the new idea. I regret to say that the 'Siege of Adrianople' toy, that their Aunt Susan sent them, didn't need any explanation; they knew all the uniforms and flags, and even the names of the respective commanders, and when I heard them one day using what seemed to be the most objectionable language they said it was Bulgarian words of command; of course it may have been, but at any rate I took the toy away from them.

In "The Toys of Peace," a young man named Harvey, at his sister's request, brings toys that have nothing to do with battles and fighting as gifts to his nephews in an effort to foster interests in things other than war. They prefer to study battles to playing with the toys and Harvey tells his sister that they've started this much too late to have any effect on the boys. In "Louise," a young woman recounts her experiences of the day, realizes that she's left her niece Louise somewhere and has to call around to the various places she had visited in order to find her. In "Tea," a young man named James Cushat-Prinkly comes to realize that he wants to be married some day and that he's going to have to propose to someone in order Browse all BookRags Study Guides. All rights reserved. Toggle navigation.

In The Toys of Peace by Saki we have the theme of control, childhood, freedom, fear, disappointment and independence Taken from his The.
black wings has my angel

The Toys of Peace Summary

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Marcus S. says:

    "The Toys of Peace" is a humorous short story by the British author Hector Hugh Munro who wrote under the pseudonym of Saki. The plot is set in motion when Eleanor asks her brother to buy "peace toys" instead of toy soldiers for her young sons. Eleanor asks Harvey to buy her sons.

  2. Norberta S. says:

    See a Problem?

  3. Soundraspchemu says:

    Munro - A summary.

  4. Maddison C. says:

    The story was first collected in the anthology of the same title.

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