Thursday, June 20, 2013

FREE WRITING: ROALD DAHL AND HIS SHORT STORIES


The purpose of this piece of writing: to convince you to read the stories. Let me know if it achieves its purpose
Roald Dahl’s parents were Norwegian but he was born in Llandaff, Glamorgan in 1916. On the outbreak of the Second World War, he enlisted in the RAF, Nairobi. He was severely wounded after joining a fighter squadron in Libya but later saw action as a fighter pilot in Greece and Syria. He was the writer of many modern children’s classics such as “The BFG”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and many others. Other than these better known books, he wrote many short story books for adults that became equally popular. Today, I would like to talk about three of these: “Kiss Kiss”, Someone Like You” and more tales of the unexpected.
Collections of the writer’s short stories were printed after the writer’s death in 1990 so some stories do appear in two books at once but this is really the only criticism that can be leveled at them. Roald Dahl has an ironical even twisted sense of humour which he lets lose in all his stories. He masterfully builds up the suspense all through the story only to jolt you to the conclusion in a way that has the same effect as a slap in the face. It is not so much that you didn2y expect things to end like that; it is just that you had realized the possibility and had been praying that it wouldn’t  end like that ever since the beginning. As often as not, you feel the need to put down the book and think about something all together different just to calm down.
 Want some examples? Take a look at the room where little Adolph was born and pray with Frau Hitler that her child will live this time. Something technological? How about some facts? Did you know that most of the books you read with such pleasure, all the while exclaiming about the feeling the writer has put into the book are, in fact, written by “The Great Automatic Grammatizator” invented by Adolph Knipe, in America some time ago? It is believed that he has bought all the writers now. The machine is very large and extremely efficient; it can write any book you program it to write in a matter of minutes. If you are interested in science fiction, meet William and Mary Pearl. Mr Pearl has agreed to take part in a scientific experiment during which the scientists will endevour to keep his brain alive after he is dead with one eye attached so that he can see.  He was originally going to be kept in the laboratory but Mary insists on taking him home. She means to start again doing all the things he wouldn’t let her do. She says it will be companionable to have him sitting on a shelf watching. It is a pity that he can’t speak though.
If you are bored of all the science, you could consider a little bet to relax. Take a look at Michael Schofield’s dinner party where the guest of honor is Richard Pratt, a wine expert , and guess what? They are having a bet right now. Michael has betted his daughter’s hand in marriage, no less, that Richard will fail to recognize the taste of his new bottle of wine. He is very confident and he will win Richard’s large house if he fails. What do you imagine will happen? Do you want to bet Michael will get the house? Fine; bet he won’t though. Speaking of houses, do you like that house over there? It belongs to the Foster’s and even has an elevator, which, unfortunately, seems to be out of order. The elevator seems to have gone bust on the day the pair took off on a journey to Paris for two weeks. At least, Mrs. Foster was on her way to Paris and Mr. Foster had meant to see her off. He kept har waiting for quite a while although he knew she was terrified of being late. She ended up going on her own after all; her thoughtless husband must have changed his mind.  When she eventually came back, she found the elevator was stuck. She assumed it must have happened on the day she left as the servants had been on leave for a fortnight. Imagine if anyone was stuck inside? Some people are like that; positively terrified of being late for trains, planes and things. Speaking of which, here comes the train now and I do believe that it is Mr. Perkins getting on there. He has been sharing his compartment with a man who is almost surely “Galloping Foxley”, the bully that made his life hell at school. It is strange that the man hasn’t recognized him yet. After long hesitations, he has decided to introduce himself and see what will happen. And last but not least, if you look carefully, you will see a little boy playing on the carpet in the house over there. He is pretending that if he steps on the black bits he will be swallowed up. It is simply a child’s game of course isn’t it?
We could continue in this vein for hours and hours but it would be much more exciting if you go and buy the books and read them for yourself. There is one simple reason for this: Roald Dahl is an experience not to be missed by anyone who enjoys a shake now and then, literature lover or otherwise. Once you start reading the stories , what your initial opinion was doesn’t really matter because once you’ve read Roald Dahl, you cannot help admitting that in the short story category, Roald Dahl is a genre on his own. Those who have read his stories before will, I am sure, agree.
Provided by: Essie; http://essiespeaks.blogspot.com

  

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