The Toys of Peace Summary

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

What exactly is ''The Toys of Peace'' about? What are some of the important events from the story? If you are curious about these questions, take a look at the lesson below where we summarize the story and its key events.

Kids Will Be Kids

If you have ever babysat or interacted with a child for a long period of time, you might know how hard it is to control them. In The Toys of Peace by Hector Hugh Munro (also known as Saki), we get a glimpse into how kids do what they want, and we learn that some behaviors may be too instinctive or ingrained to change. Let's take a look.

The Newspaper Article

The Toys of Peace opens with a woman named Eleanor Bope handing her brother, Harvey, a newspaper article about the dangers of war toys for young boys. The article explains that toy soldiers encourage violence and that the National Peace Council will soon have an exhibition of alternative toys that encourage work rather than war. Eleanor suggests that the next time he visits her, he should bring some of these civilian toys for her children. He argues that interest in war is genetic, but tells her, ''I will do my best.''

Toy soldiers

The Toys of Peace

When Easter rolls around, Harvey makes good on his promise and presents the kids with the new civilian-oriented toys. The first of these riveting new toys is a dust bin. Yes. A trash can. The boys decide that it is actually a fort until Harvey explains that it is used to collect trash from the city.

The boys are unimpressed. When Harvey pulls out a few civilian figures, a wheelbarrow, a beehive and a ballot box among other things, the boys are confused as to how to play with these toys. Harvey explains that they could hold an election with figures. The boys suggest that the election devolves into a fight complete with broken skulls, rotten eggs being thrown and bloody noses. Harvey tells them they cannot play like that with these toys, so the boys give up and decide to study instead.

Reflection Time

The boys mention that they will study some battles from the Bourbon period in France. When the boys talk excitedly about the battles, Harvey tries to encourage them to think about great gardeners of the time period. The boys aren't having it, and eventually Harvey leaves them alone. While he is alone, he thinks about what it would be like in the classroom if the topic of war were avoided. He concludes that it wouldn't be a bad thing to focus on inventions and progress instead of battles.

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