The Umbrella Man

by Roald Dahl

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Describe the old man and his trick in "The Umbrella Man" from the point of view of the little girl (the narrator).

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The whole story is told from the point of view of the narrator, who is a twelve-year-old girl. This "minor character as narrator" technique enables the author to describe both the mother and the old man objectively and to quote what both of them say to each other as well as how they behave. If the story were told from the mother's point of view it would lose all of its humor, because the girl's mother doesn't think it is funny at all. The girl has a mischievous spirit which strongly resembles that of the girl named Vera who plays a naughty trick on the neurotic Framton Nuttel in Saki's famous short story "The Open Window." The young girl shares her mother's experience, including the experience of being drenched in the rain. She is completely taken in by the Umbrella Man's trick, just like her mother. And she is astonished to see what the old man does with the pound he got for the stolen umbrella. But she does not feel personally injured, because it wasn't her pound note and she wasn't stuck with a stolen umbrella. The girl seems to feel some sympathy for the old man and even to appreciate his nerve and cunning as well as the human comedy in general.

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