Roald Dahl Questions and Answers

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What is a good summary of "Television"?

In the poem "Television" Roald Dahl, the poet warns of the dangers of letting children watch television. He advises parents to get rid of their televisions and keep their children from watching it, because it dulls the senses and makes the brain mushy. Instead, children should spend their time reading and using their imaginations. 

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"Television" is a poem written by Roald Dahl, who is most famous for having written Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryThe BFG, and James and the Giant PeachRoald Dahl was a British author who lived from 1916 to 1990. He was a also fighter pilot during World War II. 

"Television" is forty-seven lines and rich in poetic devices. The subject matter of the poem is the problem of television. Dahl writes that it is a terrible thing for children to sit in front of the television set. He admonishes parents to get rid of it at once because it is making children forget to think. All they do is sit and stare at the screen. He then answers arguments parents might make in response, about what will the children do if they don't have a television? And how will parents be free to do the things they need to do? And he answers these concerns by saying children will do what they did before the television, which is read books. This fosters imagination and creativity and doesn't dull the senses of children. 

The rhyme scheme of this poem is set up as rhyming couplets. It is an AB pattern, with the first line rhyming with the second, the third and fourth lines rhyming with each other, and this pattern continues throughout the poem. Even lines seven and eight, which wouldn't rhyme to the American ear, rhyme when one considers British folks pronounce the word "been" like a bean, not ben. 

The most important thing we've learned,

So far as children are concerned,

Is never, NEVER, NEVER let

Them near your television set—

Or better still, just don't install

The idiotic thing at all.

In almost every house we've been,

We've watched them gaping at the screen.

Dahl also makes great use of hyperbole in this poem. He says that children stare at the television screen until their eyes pop out, and follows that statement up with the claim that last week they saw a dozen eyeballs on the floor. He also uses simile ("his brain becomes as soft as cheese") and repetition in this poem. 


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